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Indoles [2,3-Benzopyrrole; 1-Benzazole] are heteroaromatic bicyclic compounds in which the benzene ring is fused to pyrrole ring. Chemically, it resembles pyrrole. It has basic properties, and undergoes electrophilic substitution reactions such as nitration, sulfonation and halogenations at the 3-position. Some plants and fungi are rich in indole-containing molecules, such as indole-3-carbinol, harmane, lysergic acid, bufotenin, serotonin, tryptamine.
Indoles are the most used compounds in the medicinal fields as they possess biological activities against several diseases. Tryptophan is one of the most essential amino acids and serves as a biosynthetic precursor for a wide variety of molecules including tryptamine-indole, and 2,3-dihydroindole-containing secondary metabolites. In animals, serotonin (5-hydroxytrytamine) is a very important neurotransmitter in the CNS, and also in the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems.