Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1979, 44, 1496-1509

Participation of 19-ester groups in the cleavage of 2α,3α- and 5α,6α-steroid epoxides. A case of competition between participation and external nucleophile attack

Pavel Kočovský and Václav Černý

Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 166 10 Prague 6


Acid cleavage of the acetoxy epoxide IIIa with aqueous perchloric acid or hydrobromic acid gave two types of products, i.e. the diol Va or the bromohydrin VIa, and the cyclic ether VIII. The latter compound arises by participation of ether oxygen of the ester group. On reaction with perchloric acid the epoxide IVa gave the diol XIIIa as a product of a normal reaction and the isomeric diol Xa as a product arising by intramolecular participation of the carbonyl oxygen of the 19-acetoxy group. Participation of the 19-ester group is confirmed by the formation of the cyclic carbonate XI when the 19-carbonate IVb is treated analogously. On reaction with hydrobromic acid, the epoxide IVa gave solely the bromohydrin XIVa as a product of the normal reaction course. Discussed is the similarity of these reactions with electrophilic additions to the related 19-acetoxy olefins I and II, the mechanism, the difference in behavior of both epoxides III and IV, the dependence of the product ratio on the nucleophility of the attacking species, and the competition between participation of an ambident neighboring group and an external nucleophile attack.