Molecular structure and nicotinic activity of arecoline. A gas electron diffraction study combined with theoretical calculations

Tsuguhide Takeshima, Hiroshi Takeuchi, Toru Egawa, Shigehiro Konaka

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The molecular structure of arecoline (methyl 1,2,5,6-tetrahydro-1- methylnicotinate, has been determined by gas electron diffraction. Diffraction patterns were taken at about 370 K. Structural constraints for the data analysis were obtained from MP2/6-31G** calculations. Vibrational mean amplitudes and shrinkage corrections were calculated from the force constants obtained from the gas-phase vibrational frequencies and the B3LYP/6-31G** calculations. The electron diffraction data were well reproduced by assuming the mixture of four conformers. The determined structural parameters (r g (Å) and ∠α (°)) for the main conformer with 3σ in parentheses are as follows: 〈r g(N-C ring)〉=1.456(4); r g(N-C methyl)=1.451 (d.p.); r g(CC)=1.339(9); 〈r g(C-C)〉=1.512(3); r g(O-C methyl)=1.434(5); r g(C(O)-O)=1.355 (d.p.); r g(CO)=1.209(4); the out-of-plane angle of the methyl group=50.3(23); ∠C ringN ringC ring=112.8(30); ∠N ringC ringC ring(H 2)=110.5(16); 〈∠C ringC ringC ring〉=118.4(5); ∠CCC(O)=116.8(7); ∠CCO=127.6(9); ∠CC-O=109.8(8), where the angle brackets denote averaged values and d.p. denotes dependent parameters. Fixing the abundances of the minor conformers, Ax-s-cis and Ax-s-trans, at the theoretical values (13% in total), those of the Eq-s-cis and Eq-s-trans conformers were determined to be 46(16) and 41(16)%, respectively. Here Ax and Eq denote the axial and equatorial directions of the N-CH 3 bond and s-cis and s-trans show the orientation of the methoxycarbonyl group expressed by the configuration of the CO and CC bonds. The N⋯O carbonyl distances of the Eq-s-cis and Ax-s-cis conformers are 4.832(13) and 4.874(16) Å, respectively. They are close to the N⋯N distance of the most abundant conformer of nicotine, 4.885(6) Å, suggesting that the Eq-s-cis and Ax-s-cis conformers have nicotinic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular Structure
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 31 2005


  • Arecoline
  • Gas electron diffraction
  • Molecular structure
  • Nicotinic activity
  • Theoretical calculations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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