In the 1970s, the aminoindanes were reported to possess significant bronchodilating and analgesic properties . Potent effects on the release and re-uptake of serotonin were also observed . As a result of the latter these substances have been sold as NPS for their ability to produce empathogenic and entactogenic effects of serotonin releasing drugs, such as MDMA .
The prototype aminoindane, 2-aminoindane (2-AI), is a cyclic analogue of amphetamine (see Figure 1). The 2-AI backbone structure can be modified to produce diverse chemical substances by substitution on the aromatic ring with a variety of functional groups, or the addition of a methylenedioxy bridge or N-alkylation; generating the following substances, respectively: 5-iodo-2-aminoindane (5-IAI, Figure 2c), 5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane (MDAI, Figure 2b) and N-methyl-2-aminoindane (NM-2AI, Figure 2d). Analogues of aminoindanes can be prepared using indanone, indene or after intramolecular cyclization of the acyl chloride derivative of 3-phenyl-2-propanoic acid .