Fluorescence-based technologies play a pivotal role in various biomedical applications. Here we report an efficient route to a new class of fluorophores, indolizino[3,2-c]quinolines, via the oxidative Pictet-Spengler cyclization strategy. The condensation of several 2-methylpyridines with 2-bromo-2′-nitroacetophenone allowed for the rapid assembly of indolizines with a 2-nitrophenyl group at the C2 position. The subsequent reduction of the nitro group under mild conditions followed by oxidative Pictet-Spengler cyclization with various aryl aldehydes in the presence of a catalytic amount of FeCl3 furnished the indolizino[3,2-c]quinolines in good overall yields. We also examined the photophysical properties of this new series of polyheterocyclic compounds. Several indolizino[3,2-c]quinolines were found to have unique and desirable optical properties, suggesting that these compounds may be suitable for use as prospective fluorescent probes in aqueous systems. (Graph Presented).
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