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J Med Chem. 2013 Mar 14;56(5):2045-58. doi: 10.1021/jm3017464. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Novel triaryl sulfonamide derivatives as selective cannabinoid receptor 2 inverse agonists and osteoclast inhibitors: discovery, optimization, and biological evaluation.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Computational Chemical Genomics Screening Center, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, United States.


Cannabinoid receptors have gained increasing attention as drug targets for developing potential therapeutic ligands. Here, we report the discovery and optimization of triaryl sulfonamides as a novel series possessing significant CB2 receptor affinity and selectivity. Four sets of triaryl ligands were designed and synthesized for further structural modifications and led to the identification of eight compounds as potent and selective CB2 inverse agonists with high binding affinity (CB2K(i) < 10 nM). Especially, compound 57 exhibited the strongest binding affinity on the CB2 receptor (CB2K(i) of 0.5 nM) and the best selectivity over the CB1 receptor (selectivity index of 2594). Importantly, 57 also showed potent inhibitory activity on osteoclast formation, and it was confirmed by a cell viability assay that the inhibition effects were not derived from the cytotoxicity. Finally, 3D QSAR studies confirmed our SAR findings that three bulky groups play an important role for CB2 receptor binding affinity.

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