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Mini Rev Med Chem. 2012 Jun;12(7):600-17.

Melatonin synthetic analogs as nitric oxide synthase inhibitors.

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Departamento de Química Farmacéutica y Orgánica, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Granada, Spain.


Nitric oxide (NO), which is produced by oxidation of L-arginine to L-citrulline in a process catalyzed by different isoforms of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), exhibits diverse roles in several physiological processes, including neurotransmission, blood pressure regulation and immunological defense mechanisms. On the other hand, an overproduction of NO is related with several disorders as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Taking melatonin as a model, our research group has designed and synthesized several families of compounds that act as NOS inhibitors, and their effects on the excitability of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-dependent neurons in rat striatum, and on the activity on both nNOS and iNOS were evaluated. Structural comparison between the three most representative families of compounds (kynurenines, kynurenamines and 4,5-dihydro-1H-pyrazole derivatives) allows the establishment of structure-activity relationships for the inhibition of nNOS, and a pharmacophore model that fulfills all of the observed SARs were developed. This model could serve as a template for the design of other potential nNOS inhibitors. The last family of compounds, pyrrole derivatives, shows moderate in vitro NOS inhibition, but some of these compounds show good iNOS/nNOS selectivity. Two of these compounds, 5-(2-aminophenyl)-1H-pyrrole-2-carboxylic acid methylamide and cyclopentylamide, have been tested as regulators of the in vivo nNOS and iNOS activity. Both compounds prevented the increment of the inducible NOS activity in both cytosol (iNOS) and mitochondria (i-mtNOS) observed in a MPTP model of Parkinson's disease.

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