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Stereoselective Mannich Reactions in the Synthesis of Enantiopure Piperidine Alkaloids and Derivatives

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An overview of recent syntheses of enantiopure pharmaceutically relevant piperidines using Mannich reactions is presented. The asymmetric induction has been classified in three conceptual approaches using the chiral pool, chiral auxilliaries and asymmetric catalysis.


Piperidine alkaloids are members of the alkaloid family that is characterized by the presence of a six-membered nitrogen-containing heterocycle. Piperidine alkaloids are found mainly in plants and often exhibit interesting biological and pharmacological activities. Despite the accumulation of these natural products in plants, relatively low quantities of alkaloids are produced in absolute terms and thus synthesis of alkaloids and derivatives thereof remains relevant to identify targets for drug discovery. Throughout the years, researchers have come up with a myriad of methods to synthesize piperidine derivatives. This review describes methods that employ stereoselective Mannich reactions to create the core of piperidine alkaloids. Asymmetric induction in the Mannich reaction has been achieved by a range of methods that have been divided into three conceptual approaches: (1) chiral pool-based (internal asymmetric induction), (2) chiral auxiliary-based (relayed asymmetric induction) and (3) asymmetric catalysis-based (external asymmetric induction). Of each approach, we describe the reaction mechanism and rationalize the stereochemical outcome of the Mannich products.

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