N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are members of the ionotropic glutamate receptor family and play a crucial role in learning and memory by regulating synaptic plasticity. Activation of NMDARs containing GluN2A, one of the NMDAR subunits, has recently attracted attention as a promising therapeutic approach for neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, depression, and epilepsy. In the present study, we developed potent and brain-penetrable GluN2A-selective positive allosteric modulators. Lead compound 2b was generated by scaffold hopping of hit compound 1, identified from the internal alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR)-focused compound library through a high-throughput screening campaign. Subsequent optimization of the lead compound, including a structure-based drug design approach, resulted in the identification of a potent GluN2A PAM (R)-9, which possessed high selectivity against both subtypes of AMPAR and NMDAR. Furthermore, (R)-9 significantly enhanced long-term potentiation in the rat hippocampus 24 h after oral administration, indicating that this molecule is a potentially useful in vivo pharmacological tool for treating psychiatric diseases.
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