Acrylamide-based DHODH inhibitors are potential agents for treating rheumatoid arthritis

Human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase(DHODH) is a viable target for the development of therapeutics to treat cancer andimmunological diseases, such asrheumatoid arthritis(RA), psoriasis andmultiple sclerosis(MS).

The authors designed and synthesized a series of acrylamide-based novel DHODH inhibitors as potential RA treatment agents. 2-Acrylamidobenzoic acid analog11was identified as the lead compound for structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies.

The replacement of thephenyl group with naphthylmoieties improved inhibitory activity significantly to double-digit nanomolar range. Further structure optimization revealed that an acrylamide with small hydrophobic groups (Me, Cl or Br) at the 2-position was preferred.

Moreover, adding a fluoro atom at the 5-position of the benzoic acid enhanced the potency. The optimization efforts led to potent compounds 42 and 53‒55 with IC50values of 41, 44, 32, and 42nmol/L, respectively.

The most potent compound 54 also displayed favorable pharmacokinetic(PK) profiles and encouraging invivoanti-arthritic effects in a dose-dependent manner.

Journal reference:

Zeng, F., et al. (2021) Design, synthesis, molecular modeling, and biological evaluation of acrylamide derivatives as potent inhibitors of human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B.


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