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J Med Chem. 1992 Dec 11;35(25):4745-50.

Fluoroquinolones: relationships between structural variations, mammalian cell cytotoxicity, and antimicrobial activity.

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Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division, Warner-Lambert Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105.


Fluoroquinolones are potent inhibitors of bacterial topoisomerase II (DNA gyrase). They can also inhibit eukaryotic topoisomerases, which could possibly lead to clastogenicity and/or cellular toxicity. Recent studies have demonstrated a correlation between mammalian cell cytotoxicity of the fluoroquinolones and the potential of these compounds to induce micronuclei, a genetic toxicity endpoint. In an effort to identify potent nontoxic quinolone antibacterials, we have examined the structural features of the fluoroquinolones associated with mammalian cell cytotoxicity. An investigation of a wide variety of substituents at the 1, 5, 7, and 8 positions of a quinolone nucleus was conducted. The results indicate that no one position has a controlling effect on the observed cytotoxicity. Instead, a combination of the various substituents contributes to the effects seen. Certain trends were apparent, such as the fact that compounds with pyrrolidines at the R-7 position were more cytotoxic than those with piperazines, and halogens at R-8 (X-position) were associated with more cytotoxicity relative to hydrogen. A general trend also existed between the cytotoxicity of the compounds and their Gram-positive antibacterial activity. A detailed comparison between the various groups and positional variations as they controlled the cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity is presented.

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