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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Sep;128(1):27-34.

Structural requirements of sulphonylureas and analogues for interaction with sulphonylurea receptor subtypes.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Technical University of Braunschweig, Mendelssohnstrasse 1, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


1. The structure-activity relationship for hypoglycaemic sulphonylureas and analogues was examined. Binding affinities were compared using membranes from HIT-T15 cells (beta-cell line) and from COS-7 cells transiently expressing sulphonylurea receptor subtypes (SUR1, SUR2A and SUR2B). Inhibition of adenosine-triphosphate-sensitive K+ channels (KATP-channels) was measured in mouse pancreatic beta-cells. 2. The tested compounds displayed similar binding affinities for SUR2A and SUR2B. 3. Meglitinide (benzoic acid derivative) bound to SUR1 and the SUR2 isoforms with similar affinities. Replacement of the carboxyl group of meglitinide by a methyl group significantly decreased the binding affinities for SUR1 and the SUR2 isoforms (>4 fold) and the potency to inhibit KATP-channel activity of beta-cells (24 fold). Replacement of the carboxyl group of meglitinide by a sulphonylurea group significantly increased the affinities for SUR1 (5 fold) and the SUR2 isoforms (13 - 16 fold). 4. Glibenclamide bound to the SUR2 isoforms with 300 - 500 fold lower affinity than to SUR1. Exchanging the cyclohexyl ring of glibenclamide by a methyl group or removal of the lipophilic side chain of glibenclamide (5-chloro-2-methoxy-benzamidoethyl chain) markedly reduced but did not abolish the selectivity for SUR1. 5. In conclusion, interaction of sulphonylureas and acidic analogues with SUR1, SUR2A and SUR2B is favoured by the anionic group of these drugs. Hypoglycaemic sulphonylureas (e.g. glibenclamide) owe selectivity for SUR1 to lipophilic substitution on their urea group. Sulphonylureas without lipophilic substitution on the urea group could represent lead compounds for the development of SUR2-selective drugs.

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