Design and synthesis of novel non peptidomimtic beta-secretase inhibitors in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

Matera, Riccardo (2009) Design and synthesis of novel non peptidomimtic beta-secretase inhibitors in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze farmaceutiche, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1711.
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The aspartic protease BACE1 (β-amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme, β-secretase) is recognized as one of the most promising targets in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The accumulation of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) in the brain is a major factor in the pathogenesis of AD. Aβ is formed by initial cleavage of β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β-secretase, therefore BACE1 inhibition represents one of the therapeutic approaches to control progression of AD, by preventing the abnormal generation of Aβ. For this reason, in the last decade, many research efforts have focused at the identification of new BACE1 inhibitors as drug candidates. Generally, BACE1 inhibitors are grouped into two families: substrate-based inhibitors, designed as peptidomimetic inhibitors, and non-peptidomimetic ones. The research on non-peptidomimetic small molecules BACE1 inhibitors remains the most interesting approach, since these compounds hold an improved bioavailability after systemic administration, due to a good blood-brain barrier permeability in comparison to peptidomimetic inhibitors. Very recently, our research group discovered a new promising lead compound for the treatment of AD, named lipocrine, a hybrid derivative between lipoic acid and the AChE inhibitor (AChEI) tacrine, characterized by a tetrahydroacridinic moiety. Lipocrine is one of the first compounds able to inhibit the catalytic activity of AChE and AChE-induced amyloid-β aggregation and to protect against reactive oxygen species. Due to this interesting profile, lipocrine was also evaluated for BACE1 inhibitory activity, resulting in a potent lead compound for BACE1 inhibition. Starting from this interesting profile, a series of tetrahydroacridine analogues were synthesised varying the chain length between the two fragments. Moreover, following the approach of combining in a single molecule two different pharmacophores, we designed and synthesised different compounds bearing the moieties of known AChEIs (rivastigmine and caproctamine) coupled with lipoic acid, since it was shown that dithiolane group is an important structural feature of lipocrine for the optimal inhibition of BACE1. All the tetrahydroacridines, rivastigmine and caproctamine-based compounds, were evaluated for BACE1 inhibitory activity in a FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) enzymatic assay (test A). With the aim to enhancing the biological activity of the lead compound, we applied the molecular simplification approach to design and synthesize novel heterocyclic compounds related to lipocrine, in which the tetrahydroacridine moiety was replaced by 4-amino-quinoline or 4-amino-quinazoline rings. All the synthesized compounds were also evaluated in a modified FRET enzymatic assay (test B), changing the fluorescent substrate for enzymatic BACE1 cleavage. This test method guided deep structure-activity relationships for BACE1 inhibition on the most promising quinazoline-based derivatives. By varying the substituent on the 2-position of the quinazoline ring and by replacing the lipoic acid residue in lateral chain with different moieties (i.e. trans-ferulic acid, a known antioxidant molecule), a series of quinazoline derivatives were obtained. In order to confirm inhibitory activity of the most active compounds, they were evaluated with a third FRET assay (test C) which, surprisingly, did not confirm the previous good activity profiles. An evaluation study of kinetic parameters of the three assays revealed that method C is endowed with the best specificity and enzymatic efficiency. Biological evaluation of the modified 2,4-diamino-quinazoline derivatives measured through the method C, allow to obtain a new lead compound bearing the trans-ferulic acid residue coupled to 2,4-diamino-quinazoline core endowed with a good BACE1 inhibitory activity (IC50 = 0.8 mM). We reported on the variability of the results in the three different FRET assays that are known to have some disadvantages in term of interference rates that are strongly dependent on compound properties. The observed results variability could be also ascribed to different enzyme origin, varied substrate and different fluorescent groups. The inhibitors should be tested on a parallel screening in order to have a more reliable data prior to be tested into cellular assay. With this aim, preliminary cellular BACE1 inhibition assay carried out on lipocrine confirmed a good cellular activity profile (EC50 = 3.7 mM) strengthening the idea to find a small molecule non-peptidomimetic compound as BACE1 inhibitor. In conclusion, the present study allowed to identify a new lead compound endowed with BACE1 inhibitory activity in submicromolar range. Further lead optimization to the obtained derivative is needed in order to obtain a more potent and a selective BACE1 inhibitor based on 2,4-diamino-quinazoline scaffold. A side project related to the synthesis of novel enzymatic inhibitors of BACE1 in order to explore the pseudopeptidic transition-state isosteres chemistry was carried out during research stage at Università de Montrèal (Canada) in Hanessian's group. The aim of this work has been the synthesis of the δ-aminocyclohexane carboxylic acid motif with stereochemically defined substitution to incorporating such a constrained core in potential BACE1 inhibitors. This fragment, endowed with reduced peptidic character, is not known in the context of peptidomimetic design. In particular, we envisioned an alternative route based on an organocatalytic asymmetric conjugate addition of nitroalkanes to cyclohexenone in presence of D-proline and trans-2,5-dimethylpiperazine. The enantioenriched obtained 3-(α-nitroalkyl)-cyclohexanones were further functionalized to give the corresponding δ-nitroalkyl cyclohexane carboxylic acids. These intermediates were elaborated to the target structures 3-(α-aminoalkyl)-1-cyclohexane carboxylic acids in a new readily accessible way.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Matera, Riccardo
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze chimiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Alzheimer's Disease, Beta-secretase inhibitors, beta-amyloid, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
Data di discussione
29 Aprile 2009

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