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Tri-n-butyltin hydride is used as a radical reagent in reductive cleavage, radical dehalogenation and intramolecular radical cyclization. It also promotes intramolecular cyclization leading to isoxazolo-benzaulene ring system. Further, it acts as a reducing agent for the conversion of alkyl halides to hydrocarbons. In addition to this, it is used in a veterinary anthelmintic for poultry and an intermediate to make other butyltin compounds.
Reducing agent and source of tributyltin radicals. Widely used for selective reduction of alkyl halides to alkanes by a radical chain mechanism. The reaction is tolerant of a wide range of functionality, including OH and NH, in contrast to polar metal hydride reagents. For reviews, see: Synthesis, 499 (1970); 665 (1987). For a brief feature on uses of this reagent in synthesis, see: Synlett, 173 (2007). For use in the synthesis of deoxy sugars via reductive rearrangement of glycosyl bromides, see: Org. Synth. Coll., 8, 583 (1993). Cyclization of the initially-formed alkyl radical to a suitably positioned double bond may occur. Formation of 5-membered rings is strongly favoured, and ring closure onto an existing ring gives the cis-fused product. See, e.g.: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 108, 5893 (1986):
Intermolecular coupling with electron-deficient alkenes is also effective: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 23, 69 (1984); Org. Synth. Coll., 8, 148 (1993). Review: Synthesis, 417 (1988).
Secondary alcohols can be deoxygenated by reduction of their xanthate derivatives: J. Chem. Soc., Perkin 1, 1574 (1975); Org. Synth. Coll., 7, 139 (1990), avoiding the rearrangements encountered with carbocation-based methods.
TBTH also cleaves other C-heteroatom bonds, controlled by the stability of the resulting radical: Nitro-groups at tertiary centers are readily cleaved: Synthesis, 693 (1986). Azides are readily reduced to amines: Synlett, 342 (1991). C-S and C-Se bonds are also cleaved. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 104, 2046 (1982); 112, 4008 (1990); J. Org. Chem., 49, 5206 (1984); 54, 1234 (1989).
Free-radical hydrostannylation of alkenes occurs with TBTH to give alkylstannanes. The reaction is catalyzed by, e.g. Rh complexes: Chem. Lett., 881 (1988), or Pd complexes: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 35, 1329 (1996), and refs therein. Syn-addition to alkynes gives vinylstannanes, useful intermediates which undergo electrophilic substitution reactions with retention of configuration. Thus, iodine, NIS and NBS give vinyl halides: J. Org. Chem., 47, 404 (1982); Tetrahedron, 42, 3575 (1986), and alkyllithium compounds exchange to give vinyllithiums: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 99, 7365 (1977). Intramolecular reaction with a double bond has been used in cyclization reactions: Org. Synth. Coll., 8, 381 (1993):
Dialdehydes and keto aldehydes undergo free-radical intramolecular pinacol coupling to give cyclic diols: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 117, 7283 (1995); J. Org. Chem., 63, 6357 (1998).
Arylstannanes have been produced by Pd-catalyzed coupling with aryl iodides: Synlett, 1064 (2000).
For generation and use of tributylstannyllithium, see: Org. Synth. Coll., 8, 562 (1993). Hydroxymethylation of TBTH occurs with LDA and paraformaldehyde. Subsequent reaction with dimethoxymethane gives the hydroxymethyl anion equivalent tributyl[(methoxymethoxy)methyl]stannane: Org. Synth. Coll., 9, 493, 704 (1998).
Zhang, B.; Studer, A. Recent advances in the synthesis of nitrogen heterocycles via radical cascade reactions using isonitriles as radical acceptors. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44 (11), 3505-3521.
Ghosh, A. K.; Xu, C. X.; Osswald, H. L. Enantioselective synthesis of dioxatriquinane structural motifs for HIV-1 protease inhibitors using a cascade radical cyclization. Tetrahedron Lett. 2015, 56 (23), 3314-3317.
Hazard Statements: H301-H312-H315-H319-H372
Toxic if swallowed. Harmful in contact with skin. Causes skin irritation. Causes serious eye irritation. Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.
Precautionary Statements: P260-P280-P301+P310a-P305+P351+P338-P405-P501a
Do not breathe dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray. Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection. IF SWALLOWED: IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing. Store locked up. Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/national/international regulations.