An update on derivatisation and repurposing of clinical nitrofuran drugs
Zuma, Nonkululeko H.
N'Da, David D.
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5-nitrofurans (NFs) have been in clinical use for over 60 years. These affordable drugs are used for the treatment of a broad spectrum of diseases ranging from urinary tract infections to cancer. The anti-pathogenic effect of clinical NFs occurs following a step-wise process involving activation by azoreduction, followed by nitroreduction catalysed by azoreductases and nitroreductases (NTRs), respectively. Azoreduction yields stable metabolites that have the ability to covalently bind to cellular proteins. Nitroreduction, on the other hand, occurs by type I or II reduction of the nitro group in the presence of parasitic NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductases. Type I NTRs catalyse, under anaerobic conditions, the reduction of NFs to produce anti-pathogenic hydroxylamine. Under aerobic conditions, nitroreduction catalysed by type II NTRs produces reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS), causing oxidative stress to pathogens and ultimate death. This multi-activity nature of NFs thus allows the repurposing of these drugs from agricultural chemicals and basic antibiotics to efficient therapies against human life-threatening diseases. Cases of NF resistance in pathogens are also limited likely due to this multi-activity, as well as effectivity under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. However, multi-activity of these drugs can also infer toxicity. Molecular derivatisation is an effective strategy to improve efficacy, lower toxicity, diversify activity and address pathogen resistance associated with the use of these drugs
- Faculty of Health Sciences