Synthesis of estrogen methyl ethers by extractive alkylation
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A rapid method for the quantitative preparation of a number of estrogen methyl ethers is described. Estrogen in aqueous base is extracted as an ion pair with the tetrahexylammonium oin into methylene chloride where irreversible alkylation (extractive alkylation) by methyl iodide occurs. Gas chromatography (GC) - mass spectrometry (MS) provided the basis for identification of the methylated products. Estrone (1) and estradiol were easily 3-0-methylated whereas estriol gave a dimethylated product. Further experiments suggested that dimethylation of 2-hydroxyestrone in reasonable yield was possible.
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