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Isoquinolines [2-Azanaphthalene; Benzo[c]pyridine] are heteroaromatic compounds, isomeric to quinoline with respect to the position of nitrogen in the ring. Quinoline and isoquinoline are generally referred to as benzopyridine compounds in which the benzene ring is fused to the pyridine ring at the beta bond and gamma bond, respectively. Isoquinoline is generally considered as a weak base with its low pKa value of 5.14. It can be protonated on the nitrogen atom to form salts by the addition of strong acids like HCl, HBr and the like; addition of Lewis acids (like BF3) forms adducts.
Isoquinoline derivatives have been extensively used in the pharmaceutical field. For example, quinapril, quinapirilat, and debrisoquine are used as antihypertensive agents, N-laurylisoquinolinium bromide used as disinfectant. In addition, there are many varieties of isoquinoline alkaloids which have been found from naturally occurring compounds as well as synthetic alkaloids of natural products. For example, 1-benzylisoquinoline is the structural backbone in naturally occurring alkaloids including papaverine. Other applications include dyes, paints, and as solvent for extracting resins and terpenes.