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Olsen, R.; Liu, L.; Ghaderi, N.; Johns, A.; Hatcher, M. E.; and Mueller, L.. 2003. The Amide Rotational Barrier in Picolinamide and Nicotinamide: NMR and Ab Initio Studies. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 125: 10125-10132. Full Article

Pyridine carboxamides are a class of medicinal agents with activity that includes the reduction of iron-induced renal damage, the regulation of nicotinamidase activity, and radio- and chemosensitization. Such pharmacological activities, and the prevalence of the carboxamide moiety and the importance of amide rotations in biology, motivate detailed investigation of energetics in these systems. In this study, we report the use of dynamic nuclear magnetic resonance to measure the amide rotational barriers in the pyridine carboxamides picolinamide and nicotinamide. The activation enthalpies and entropies of H = 12.9 0.3 kcal/mol and S = -7.7 0.9 cal/mol K for nicotinamide and H = 18.3 0.4 kcal/mol and S = +1.3 1.0 cal/mol K for picolinamide report a substantial energetic difference for these regioisomers. Ab initio calculations of the rotational barriers are in good agreement with the experimentally determined values and help partition the 5.4 kcal/mol enthalpy difference into its major contributions. Of principal importance are the variations in steric interactions in the ground states of picolinamide and nicotinamide, superior electron donation from the pyridine ring in the transition state of nicotinamide, and an intramolecular hydrogen bond in the ground state of picolinamide.

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