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J Med Chem. 2006 Jun 15;49(12):3682-92.

Novel 1,3-disubstituted 8-(1-benzyl-1H-pyrazol-4-yl) xanthines: high affinity and selective A2B adenosine receptor antagonists.

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Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, CV Therapeutics Inc., 3172 Porter Drive, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


Adenosine has been suggested to induce bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthmatics, which is believed to be an A(2B) adenosine receptor (AdoR) mediated pathway. We hypothesize that a selective, high-affinity A(2B) AdoR antagonist may provide therapeutic benefit in the treatment of asthma. In an attempt to identify a high-affinity, selective antagonist for the A(2B) AdoR, we synthesized 8-(C-4-pyrazolyl) xanthines. Compound 22, 8-(1H-pyrazol-4-yl)-1,3-dipropyl xanthine, is a N-1 unsubstituted pyrazole derivative that has favorable binding affinity (K(i) = 9 nM) for the A(2B) AdoR, but it is only 2-fold selective versus the A(1) AdoR. Introduction of a benzyl group at the N-1-pyrazole position of 22 resulted in 19, which had moderate selectivity. The initial focus of the SAR study was on the preparation of substituted benzyl derivatives of 19 because the corresponding phenyl, phenethyl, and phenpropyl derivatives showed a decrease in A(2B) AdoR affinity and selectivity relative to 19. The preferred substitution on the phenyl ring of 19 contains an electron-withdrawing group, specifically F or CF(3) at the m-position, as in 33 and 36 respectively, increases the selectivity while retaining the affinity for the A(2B) AdoR. Exploring disubstitutions on the phenyl ring of derivatives 33 and36 led to the 2-chloro-5-trifluoromethylphenyl derivative 50, which retained the A(2B) AdoR affinity but enhanced the selectivity relative to 36. After optimization of the substitution on the 8-pyrazole xanthine, 1,3-disubstitution of the xanthine core was explored with methyl, ethyl, butyl, and isobutyl groups. In comparison to the corresponding dipropyl analogues, the smaller 1,3-dialkyl groups (methyl and ethyl) increased the A(2B) AdoR binding selectivity of the xanthine derivatives while retaining the affinity. However, the larger 1,3-dialkyl groups (isobutyl and butyl) resulted in a decrease in both A(2B) AdoR affinity and selectivity. This final SAR optimization led to the discovery of 1,3-dimethyl derivative 60, 8-(1-(3-(trifluoromethyl) benzyl)-1H-pyrazol-4-yl)-1,3-dimethyl xanthine, a high-affinity (K(i) = 1 nM) A(2B) AdoR antagonist with high selectivity (990-, 690-, and 1,000-) for the human A(1), A(2A,) and A(3) AdoRs.

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