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J Med Chem. 2004 Apr 8;47(8):2110-22.

Design, synthesis, and biological activity of 1,3-disubstituted ureas as potent inhibitors of the soluble epoxide hydrolase of increased water solubility.

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Department of Entomology and UC Davis Cancer Center, University of California-Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is involved in the metabolism of endogenous chemical mediators that play an important role in blood pressure regulation and inflammation. 1,3-Disubstituted ureas are potent inhibitors of sEH that are active both in vitro and in vivo. However, their poor solubility in either water or lipid reduces their in vivo efficacy and makes them difficult to formulate. To improve these physical properties, the effect of incorporating polar functional groups into one of the alkyl chains was evaluated on their inhibitor potencies, water solubility, octanol/water partition coefficients (log P), and melting points. No loss of inhibition potency was observed when a polar functional group was incorporated at least five atoms ( approximately 7.5 A) from the central urea carbonyl. In addition, the presence of a polar group at least 11 atoms away from the urea carbonyl group for the mouse and human sEHs, respectively, did not alter the inhibitor potency. The resulting compounds have better water solubility and generally lower log P values and melting points than nonfunctionalized liphophilic ureas. These properties will make the compounds more bioavailable and more soluble in either water- or oil-based formulations.

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