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J Med Chem. 2011 Sep 22;54(18):6375-93. doi: 10.1021/jm200803d. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Selective cytotoxicity of oxysterols through structural modulation on rings A and B. Synthesis, in vitro evaluation, and SAR.

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Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.


Chemically diverse oxysterols were prepared and evaluated for cytotoxicity, aiming to push forward potency and selectivity. They were tested against seven cancer (HT-29, HepG2, A549, PC3, LAMA-84, MCF-7, and SH-SY5Y) and two noncancerous cell lines (ARPE-19 and BJ). The influence of the oxidation pattern on rings A and B was studied. Oxygen functionalities on ring B, such as oxo, oxime, acetamide, acetate, and alkoxy, were evaluated. Most oxysterols were cytotoxic in the low micromolar range, with emphasis to the tetrols 14 and 34, the 6β methoxy and acetoxy derivatives 21 and 45, and the oxime 28. In general, the oxysterols were more toxic to cancer cells and a set of compounds (9, 14, 21, 28, 45) with very high selectivity was identified. The cytotoxicity of 3β-acetates was lower than that of the parent alcohols, although incubation for a longer period rendered them equally cytotoxic, pointing them as potential prodrugs of oxysterols.

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