Syntheses of chalcones and 2–aminopyrimidines and their evaluation as monoamine oxidase inhibitors and as adenosine receptor antagonists
Robinson, Sarel Johannes
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Background and rationale - Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by reduced levels of dopamine in the brain. The cause of Parkinson's disease is still unknown; however several theories pertaining to the etiology exist. Current treatment mainly aims at dopamine replacement, with agents such as levodopa and dopamine agonists that provide patients with symptomatic relief. This relief is unfortunately only temporary as the progression of the disease is not halted. Furthermore, these therapies are associated with a range of side effects and novel approaches to the treatment are thus urgently required. Adenosine A2A receptor antagonists recently emerged as a promising non-dopaminergic alternative, not only as symptomatic treatment, but also as potential neuroprotective therapy. Adenosine A2A receptors are co-localised with dopamine D2 receptors in the striatum and other nuclei of the basal ganglia. Adenosine A2A stimulation decreases the affinity of dopamine for the D2 receptor, and increase cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels. The stimulation of dopamine D2 receptors, in contrast, decreases cAMP levels and therefore these receptors (A2A and D2), act in an opposing manner. Adenosine A2A antagonism will thus have similar effects as dopamine D2 agonism and will reduce the postsynaptic effects of dopamine depletion to give symptomatic relief. There are also several mechanisms where by adenosine A2A antagonists may be neuroprotective, for example by preventing glutamate excitotoxicity, that may cause damage to dopaminergic neurons. A number of adenosine A2A antagonists have already reached clinical trials and promising results were obtained, especially when combined with levodopa. Consequently, A2A antagonists are realistic prospects that have therapeutic potential in diseases with dopaminergic hypofunction, like Parkinson's disease. Many of the current A2A antagonists contain an amino-substituted heterocyclic scaffold, such as an aminopyrimidine. The primary aim of this study was the design, synthesis and evaluation of 2-aminopyrimidine derivatives as adenosine A2A receptor antagonists. Monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitors are also promising candidates for the symptomatic treatment of Parkinson's disease, since MAO-B is the enzyme primarily responsible for the catabolism of dopamine in the brain. Irreversible inhibitors of MAO-B, such as selegeline and rasagiline, have been used clinically for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. This type of inhibition comes with certain disadvantages as it may take up to several weeks after termination of treatment for the enzyme activity to recover. Reversible inhibitors in contrast will have much better safety profiles seeing that they will not inactivate the enzyme permanently and allow for competition with the substrate. When dopamine is oxidized by MAO, toxic metabolic by-products, such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) forms, and this is believed to be a possible cause of Parkinson's disease. MAO-B inhibitors will therefore not only provide symptomatic relief but may also alter the progression of the disease by preventing the formation of these byproducts. Promising MAOB inhibitory activities have been reported for chalcones, and since the intermediates obtained in the synthesis of aminopyrimidines in this study are chalcones, a secondary aim of this study was the screening of selected chalcone intermediates as inhibitors of MAO–B. Results - Design and synthesis: A series of 2-aminopyrimidines were designed using known active structures and literature pharmacophores. A molecular modelling study (Discovery Studio 3.1, Accelrys) was further done to investigate the feasibility of these compounds as potential adenosine A2A antagonists. All of the designed aminopyrimidines were successfully docked in the binding site of the adenosine A2A receptor. Binding orientations and observed interactions with important residues in the active site were similar to those observed for known A2A antagonists. It was therefore concluded that these compounds may be potential A2A antagonists and the designed compounds were thus synthesised. Structures were primarily confirmed with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. MAO-B inhibition studies: Selected chalcones were evaluated using a fluorometric assay and kynuramine as substrate. The compounds were potent and selective inhibitors of the MAO-B enzyme with IC50 values ranging between 0.49-7.67 μM. (2E)-3-(3-Chlorophenyl)-1-(5-methyl-2-furyl) prop-2-en-1-one (1c) was the most potent compound with an IC50 value of 0.49 μM and was approximately 60 times more selective towards MAO-B than MAO-A. Some preliminary structure activity relationships were derived, for example, phenyl substitution with an electron withdrawing chlorine group generally resulted in better activity than substitution with electron donating methoxy groups. Further investigation of structure activity relationships are however required as a very small series of chalcones were screened. Reversibility studies and mode of inhibition: A dilution assay was used to determine whether compound (1c) binds reversibly or irreversibly to the MAO-B enzyme. This was done by measuring the recovery of enzymatic activity after a large dilution of the enzyme-inhibitor complex. The results from the reversibility studies showed that the inhibition of the most potent compound (1c) is reversible as the catalytic activities are recovered to approximately 80% and 50% respectively, compared to the control measured in the absence of an inhibitor. For the mode of inhibition, sets of Lineweaver–Burk plots were constructed. The Lineweaver-Burk plots intersected on the y-axis which indicates that compound 1c is a competitive inhibitor of the MAO-B enzyme. In vitro adenosine A2A assays: Radioligand binding assays were used to determine the affinity of the synthesised 2-aminopyrimidines for the adenosine A2A receptor. This assay was performed with the radioligand [3H]NECA in the presence of N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA). Compounds 2a - 2h showed moderate to weak affinity in the assay, while promising affinities were observed for compounds 2j - 2n, which all exhibited Ki values below 55 nM. The compound with the highest affinity was 4-(5-methylfuran-2-yl)-6-[3-(piperidine-1- carbonyl)phenyl]pyrimidin-2-amine (2m) with a Ki value of 5.76 nM, which is comparable to the Ki value of 2.10 nM obtained for the known amino-substituted heterocyclic adenosine A2A antagonist, ZM 241385. The higher affinities of compounds (2j – 2n) could, at least in part, be explained by the molecular modelling studies. In the docking experiments an additional hydrogen bond interaction was observed between the amide carbonyl and tyrosine 271 indicating that this structural feature is a major contributing factor to the improved affinity observed for these derivatives. In vivo adenosine A2A assays: The haloperidol induced catalepsy assay was used to determine whether the two compounds with the highest affinity for the adenosine A2A receptor (2m and 2k) are antagonists of the A2A receptor. These compounds caused a statistically significant reduction in catalepsy, which clearly illustrate that they are adenosine A2A antagonists. The objectives of this study as set out were thus successfully realised and promising results were obtained. During this study, several novel 2-aminopyrimidines and chalcones were synthesised, and the respective adenosine A2A antagonistic and monoamine oxidase inhibitory activities for all of the screened compounds were determined for the first time.
- Health Sciences