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J Med Chem. 2001 Mar 1;44(5):814-21.

Antipsoriatic anthrones with modulated redox properties. 5. Potent inhibition of human keratinocyte growth, induction of keratinocyte differentiation, and reduced membrane damage by novel 10-arylacetyl-1,8-dihydroxy-9(10H)-anthracenones.

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  • 1Institut für Pharmazeutische Chemie, Westfälische Wilhelms--Universität Münster, Hittorfstrasse 58-62, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


The synthesis and structure-activity relationships (SARs) of a series of novel 10-arylacetyl-1,8-dihydroxy-9(10H)-anthracenones are described. Acylation of anthralin with either the appropriate arylacetyl chlorides or arylacetic acids in the presence of pyridine or via the coupling agent dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC), respectively, furnished this structural class of antipsoriatic agents. Potential antipsoriatic activity was evaluated in complementary assays specifically addressed to three important aspects of psoriasis. First, several compounds were identified which are equally potent as inhibitors of human keratinocyte growth as the antipsoriatic agent anthralin. Furthermore, improved ratio of antiproliferative activity to cytotoxicity is demonstrated by the reduced potential of the novel analogues to induce membrane damage, which is a benefit of their reduced ability to generate oxygen radicals as documented by deoxyribose degradation. Second, analogue 3o bearing a hydroxamate functional group was also a highly potent inhibitor of LTB(4) biosynthesis in addition to its excellent antiproliferative activity. SARs of these inhibitors of both keratinocyte growth and LTB(4) biosynthesis with respect to the nature of the para-substitution in the 10-phenylacetyl side chain are discussed. Third, the compounds were also evaluated for their ability to induce the formation of cornified envelope protein in keratinocytes. Cross-linking of cellular protein as a marker of terminal differentiation of keratinocytes was observed for many 10-arylacetyl analogues at concentrations required to arrest cell growth. This newly uncovered activity of the novel anthracenones suggests antipsoriatic potential with respect to disturbance of keratinocyte differentiation, in addition to hyperproliferative and inflammatory aspects of psoriasis.

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