Aminopyrimidine derivatives as adenosine antagonists
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Aims of this project - The aim of this study was to design and synthesise novel 2-aminopyrimidine derivatives as potential adenosine A1 and A2A receptor antagonists. Background and rationale - Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder (after Alzheimer’s disease) and is characterised by the selective death of the dopaminergic neurons of the nigro-striatal pathway. Distinctive motor symptoms include bradykinesia, muscle rigidity and tremor, while non-motor symptoms, of which cognitive dysfunction is an example, also frequently occur. Current therapy provides symptomatic relief mainly by augmentation of dopaminergic signalling (levodopa, dopamine agonists, MAO and COMT enzyme inhibitors), but disease progression is not adequately addressed. New therapies that can prevent further neurodegeneration in addition to providing symptomatic relief are therefore urgently required. Adenosine has an important function as neuromodulator in the central nervous system. The adenosine A2A receptor in particular plays an essential role in the regulation of movement. This, coupled to the fact that it is uniquely distributed in the basal ganglia, contributes to its attractiveness as non-dopaminergic target in the treatment of movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The efficacy of adenosine receptor antagonists has been illustrated in animal models of Parkinson’s disease and several adenosine receptor antagonists have also reached clinical trials. The neuroprotective properties of adenosine A2A receptor antagonists are further attributed to their ability to modulate neuro-inflammation and decrease the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, which is implicated in neurotoxicity. While adenosine A1 receptor antagonism has a synergistic effect on the motor effects of adenosine A2A receptor antagonism, it has the additional benefit of improving cognitive dysfunction, a cardinal non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Dual antagonism of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors therefore offers the potential of providing symptomatic relief as well as the neuroprotection so desperately needed in the clinical environment. Amino substituted heterocyclic scaffolds, such as those containing the 2-aminopyrimidine motif, have been shown to exhibit good efficacy as dual adenosine receptor antagonists. Since the structure activity relationships of 2-aminopyrimidines have not been comprehensively explored, it is in this regard that this study aimed to make a contribution. Results - Fourteen 2-aminopyrimidines were synthesised successfully over three steps, (although in low yields) and characterised by nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, by determination of melting points and high performance liquid chromatography. Structure modifications explored included variation of the aromatic substituent on position 4, as well as variations in the substituents of the phenyl ring, present on position 6 of the pyrimidine ring. Radioligand binding assays were performed to determine the affinities of the synthesised compounds for the adenosine A1 and A2A receptor subtypes. Several high dual affinity derivatives were identified during this study; the compound with the highest affinity was 4-(5-methylthiophen-2-yl)-6-[3-(piperidine-1-carbonyl)phenyl]pyrimidin-2-amine (39f) with Ki values of 0.5 nM and 2.3 nM for the adenosine A2A and adenosine A1 receptors, respectively. A few general structure activity relationships were derived, which included: The effect of the aromatic substituent (position 4) on A2A affinity could be summarised (in order of declining affinity) as follows: 5-methylthiophene > phenyl > furan > pyridine > p-fluorophenyl >benzofuran. On the other hand, the effect of this substituent on A1 receptor affinity could be summarised (in order of declining affinity) as follows: phenyl > 5-methylthiophene > pfluorophenyl > benzofuran > pyridine. The affinities as exhibited by the methylthiophene derivatives 39f, 39h – 39j, further showed that while piperidine substitution (39f) resulted in optimal A2A and A1 affinity, pyrrolidine substitution (39j) was less favourable. Substitution at the 4ʹ position of the phenyl ring, as well as thiazole substitution, generally resulted in poor adenosine A1 and A2A receptor affinity. However, 4-[2-amino-6-(5-methylfuran-2-yl)pyrimidin- 4-yl]-N-(1,3-benzothiazol-2-yl)benzamide (39l) surprisingly demonstrated good affinity and selectivity for the adenosine A1 receptor. The results obtained during radioligand binding assays were rationalised by QSAR and molecular modelling (Discovery Studio 3.1, Accelrys) studies. The inverse relationship seen between log Ki (as indicator of affinity) and polar surface area, illustrated the importance of this physico-chemical property in the design of 2-aminopyrimidine A2A antagonists. The results from the docking study further showed that the orientation adopted by derivatives in the binding cavity (and particular hydrogen bonding to Asn 253 and Glu 169) is of importance. Results from the MTT cell viability assay indicated that none of the high affinity derivatives had a significant effect on cell viability at 1 μM, a concentration much higher than their Ki values. However, incorporation of the furan, benzofuran and p-fluorophenyl groups as aromatic substituent and a pyrrolidine as amine substituent, presented liabilities. Lastly, the haloperidol induced catalepsy assay (in rats) was used to give a preliminary indication of adenosine receptor antagonism or agonism. Compound 39f failed to reverse catalepsy under standard conditions, but showed some reversal after an increased time period. Indications therefore exist that 39f is an adenosine receptor antagonist that suffers from bioavailability issues. Compound (39c), 4-phenyl-6-[3-(piperidine-1- carbonyl)phenyl]pyrimidin-2-amine which also demonstrated promising affinity in the radioligand binding assays however showed a statistically significant reduction in catalepsy, indicating adenosine A2A receptor antagonism, and in vivo efficacy. Highly potent, dual affinity aminopyrimidine derivatives with acceptable toxicity profiles were identified in this study, with compound 39c demonstrating in vivo activity. The aim of designing and synthesising a promising dual adenosine A1/A2A receptor antagonist is therefore realised, with compound 39c as the most favourable example.
- Health Sciences