Radical reductions of halogenated precursors bearing a heterocycle exo (α) to the carbon-centered radical proceed with enhanced anti-selectivity, a phenomenon that we termed “exocyclic effect”. New experimental data and DFT calculations at the BHandHLYP/TZVP level demonstrate that the origin of the exocyclic effect is linked to the strain energy required for a radical intermediate to reach its reactive conformation at the transition state (ΔE≠strain). Furthermore, radical reductions of constrained THP systems indicate that high 2,3-anti inductions are reached only when the radical chain occupies an equatorial orientation. Hydride deliveries to different acyclic substrates and calculations also suggest that the higher anti-selectivities obtained with borinate intermediates are not related to the formation of a complex mimicking an exocycle. From a broader standpoint, this study reveals important conformational factors for reactions taking place at a center vicinal to a heterocycle or an α-alkoxy group.
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