Theoretical investigation of the conformational intricacies and thermodynamic functions of noradrenaline

Dongjin R. Lee, Natalie J. Galant, Donghoon M. Lee, Sean S.H. Dawson, Vanna Z.Y. Ding, David H. Setiadi, Béla Viskolcz, Imre G. Csizmadia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that is involved in various psychological processes. In the neurotransmission process, noradrenaline binds to an adrenergic receptor by forming a complex of hydrogen bonds between its two catechol ring hydroxyl groups and the amino acid residues of adrenergic receptors. Although the two catechol ring hydroxyl groups play a crucial role in making hydrogen bonds to the binding site of the adrenergic receptor, the contribution of the catechol ring hydroxyl groups to the intramolecular stability that may affect docking has not been fully studied. To reveal the specific role that the catechol ring hydroxyl groups might play in stabilizing noradrenaline, the quantum chemical computations of geometry optimization and thermodynamic functions of N-protonated noradrenaline conformers were performed at both the B3LYP/6-31G(d,p) and G3MP2B3 levels of theory, using the Gaussian 03 program. The results were compared with those of N-protonated β-hydroxy-β-phenylethylamine, which is identical to noradrenaline except it lacks two catechol ring hydroxyl groups. For the first time, post-Hartree-Fock computations were used to obtain thermodynamic functions to establish relative stabilities of all possible conformers of N-protonated noradrenaline. In this study, 18 distinct structures of N-protonated noradrenaline were revealed, and the catechol ring hydroxyl groups were found to affect noradrenaline stability positively or negatively depending on the conformational orientations. On the basis of available experimental results, the issue that the least stable conformation of two catechol ring hydroxyl groups may be involved in the docking process has been raised. These findings may be useful in synthesis of derivatives of noradrenaline in drug design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1010-1020
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Conformational stability
  • Density functional calculations
  • Intramolecular hydrogen bond
  • Noradrenaline
  • Thermodynamic functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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