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Eur J Med Chem. 2003 Jun;38(6):547-54.

An overview of inhibitors of Na(+)/H(+) exchanger.

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Department of Pharmacy, University of Namur, 61 rue de Bruxelles, 5000 Namur, Belgium.


The Na(+)/H(+) exchanger (NHE) is involved in intracellular pH homeostasis of many mammalian cell types. To date seven NHE isoforms (NHE1-NHE7) have been identified. NHE1 is the most predominant isoform expressed in heart where it contributes to cardiomyocyte pH homeostasis. Although the NHE activation is essential for the restoration of physiological pH, hyperactivation of NHE1 during ischemia-reperfusion episodes disrupts the intracellular ion balance, leading to cardiac dysfunction and damage. Beside its ability to inhibit a conductive Na(+) channel and the Na(+)/Ca(++) exchanger, amiloride was the first drug described as NHE inhibitor. Double substitution of the nitrogen of the 5-amino group of amiloride gave DMA, EIPA, MIBA and HMA. Later, several acylguanidines were prepared to selectively inhibit NHE1. The replacement of the pyrazine ring of amiloride by a pyridine ring or by a phenyl increased the potency and the NHE selectivity. The simultaneous replacement of the pyrazine ring by a phenyl, of the 6-chloro by a sulfomethyl led to drugs such as HOE-694, cariporide, eniporide and BIIB-513 which also selectively inhibited NHE1. In the last decade several bicyclic guanidines were prepared: zoniporide, MS-31038, SM-20220, SM-20550, SMP-300, KB-R9032, BMS-284640, T-162559, TY-12533, S-3226 or SL-591227. Extensive pre-clinical studies indicated that NHE inhibitors afford substantial protection in different animal models of myocardial ischemia (MI) and reperfusion, but the results of clinical trials involving eniporide and cariporide were mixed.

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