Supplementary Material for: Novel Benzodiazepine-Like Ligands with Various Anxiolytic, Antidepressant, or Pro-Cognitive Profiles

Altered gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) function is consistently reported in psychiatric disorders, normal aging, and neurodegenerative disorders and reduced function of GABA interneurons is associated with both mood and cognitive symptoms. Benzodiazepines (BZ) have broad anxiolytic, but also sedative, anticonvulsant and amnesic effects, due to nonspecific GABA-A receptor (GABAA-R) targeting. Varying the profile of activity of BZs at GABAA-Rs is predicted to uncover additional therapeutic potential. We synthesized four novel imidazobenzodiazepine (IBZD) amide ligands and tested them for positive allosteric modulation at multiple α-GABAA-R (α-positive allosteric modulators), pharmacokinetic properties, as well as anxiolytic and antidepressant activities in adult mice. Efficacy at reversing stress-induced or age-related working memory deficits was assessed using a spontaneous alternation task. Diazepam (DZP) was used as a control. Three ligands (GL-II-73, GL-II-74, and GL-II-75) demonstrated adequate brain penetration and showed predictive anxiolytic and antidepressant efficacies. GL-II-73 and GL-II-75 significantly reversed stress-induced and age-related working memory deficits. In contrast, DZP displayed anxiolytic but no antidepressant effects or effects on working memory. We demonstrate distinct profiles of anxiolytic, antidepressant, and/or pro-cognitive activities of newly designed IBZD amide ligands, suggesting novel therapeutic potential for IBZD derivatives in depression and aging.