Stereoselective synthesis of cis-3,4-disubstituted piperidines through ring transformation of 2-(2-mesyloxyethyl)azetidines

K. Mollet, S. Catak, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, M. D'Hooghe, N. De Kimpe
Journal of Organic Chemistry
76 (20), 8364–8375


The reactivity of 2-(2-mesyloxyethyl)azetidines, obtained through monochloroalane reduction and mesylation of the corresponding β-lactams, with regard to different nucleophiles was evaluated for the first time, resulting in the stereoselective preparation of a variety of new 4-acetoxy-, 4-hydroxy-, 4-bromo-, and 4-formyloxypiperidines. During these reactions, transient 1-azoniabicyclo[2.2.0]hexanes were prone to undergo an SN2-type ring opening to afford the final azaheterocycles, which was rationalized by means of a detailed computational analysis. This approach constitutes a convenient alternative for the known preparation of 3,4-disubstituted 5,5-dimethylpiperidines, providing an easy access to the 5,5-nor-dimethyl analogues as valuable templates in medicinal chemistry. Furthermore, cis-4-bromo-3-(phenoxy or benzyloxy)piperidines were elaborated into the piperidin-3-one framework via dehydrobromination followed by acid hydrolysis.