Condensation reactions of indole with acetophenones affording mixtures of 3,3-(1-phenylethane-1,1-diyl)bis(1H-indoles) and 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-3-(1H-indol-3-yl)-1-methyl-1,3-diphenylcyclopent[b]indoles

Noland WE, Brown CD, DeKruif RD, Lanzatella NP,  Gao SM, Zabronsky AE,  Tritch KJ, Synthetic Communications, 2018, 48, 1755-1765

Condensation of indole 1a with eight acetophenones 8a–h in ethanolic HCl afforded the corresponding mixtures of condensation products: 3,3-(1-phenylethane-1,1-diyl)bis(1H-indoles) 11a–h (2:1 condensation of indole:acetophenone, –H2O) and diastereomers of substituted 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-3-(1H-indol-3-yl)-1-methyl-1,3-diphenylcyclopent[b]indoles 12a–h and 13a–h (2:2 condensation of indole:acetophenone, –2H2O). Each mixture was analyzed by 1H NMR. The use of substituted electron-withdrawing acetophenones favored formation of 2:1 condensation products, whereas the use of substituted electron-donating acetophenones favored formation of 2:2 condensation products. Increased reaction temperature gave higher 2:2 condensation yields, but temperatures above 40 °C were unfavorable, giving complex, tarry mixtures.