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J Med Chem. 2002 Sep 12;45(19):4321-35.

Structure-activity relationships of the antimalarial agent artemisinin. 7. Direct modification of (+)-artemisinin and in vivo antimalarial screening of new, potential preclinical antimalarial candidates.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, National Center for Natural Products Research, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677, USA.


On the basis of earlier reported quantitative structure-activity relationship studies, a series of 9beta-16-(arylalkyl)-10-deoxoartemisinins were proposed for synthesis. Several of the new compounds 7 and 10-14 were synthesized employing the key synthetic intermediate 23. In a second approach, the natural product (+)-artemisinic acid was utilized as an acceptor for conjugate addition, and the resultant homologated acids were subjected to singlet oxygenation and acid treatment to provide artemisinin analogues. Under a new approach, we developed a one step reaction for the interconversion of artemisinin 1 into artemisitene 22 that did not employ selenium-based reagents and found that 2-arylethyliodides would undergo facile radical-induced conjugate addition to the exomethylene lactone of 22 in good yield. The lactone carbonyls were removed sequentially by diisobutylaluminum hydride reduction followed directly by a second reduction (BF(3)-etherate/Et(3)SiH) to afford the desired corresponding pyrans. Six additional halogen-substituted aromatic side chains were installed via 22 furnishing the bioassay candidates 15-20. The analogues were examined for in vitro antimalarial activity in the W-2 and D-6 clones of Plasmodium falciparum and were additionally tested in vivo in Plasmodium berghei- and/or Plasmodium yoelii-infected mice. Several of the compounds emerged as highly potent orally active candidates without obvious toxicity. Of these, two were chosen for pharmacokinetic evaluation, 14 and 17.

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