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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2009 Sep 15;19(18):5458-60. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2009.07.096. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

Synthesis and biological evaluation of quinic acid derivatives as anti-inflammatory agents.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


Quinic acid (QA) esters found in hot water extracts of Uncaria tomentosa (a.k.a. cat's claw) exert anti-inflammatory activity through mechanisms involving inhibition of the pro-inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB). Herein, we describe the synthesis and biological testing of novel QA derivatives. Inhibition of NF-kappaB was assessed using A549 (Type II alveolar epithelial-like) cells that stably express a secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) reporter driven by an NF-kappaB response element. A549-NF-kappaB cells were stimulated with TNF-alpha (10 ng/mL) in the presence or absence of QA derivative for 18 hours followed by measurement of SEAP activity. Amide substitution at the carboxylic acid position yielded potent inhibitors of NF-kappaB. A variety of modifications to the amide substitution were tolerated with the N-propyl amide derivative being the most potent. Further examination of the SAR demonstrated that acetylation of the hydroxyl groups reduced NF-kappaB inhibitory activity. QA amide derivatives lacked anti-oxidant activity and were found to be neither anti-proliferative nor cytotoxic at concentrations up to 100 microM. In conclusion, we have discovered a novel series of non-toxic QA amides that potently inhibit NF-kappaB, despite their lack of anti-oxidant activity. Mechanistic studies and pre-clinical efficacy studies in various inflammatory animal models are on-going.

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