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J Med Chem. 2013 Sep 12;56(17):6917-34. doi: 10.1021/jm400739u. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Synthesis and structure-activity relationship (SAR) of 2-methyl-4-oxo-3-oxetanylcarbamic acid esters, a class of potent N-acylethanolamine acid amidase (NAAA) inhibitors.

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Drug Discovery and Development, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia , Via Morego 30, I-16163 Genova, Italy.


N-Acylethanolamine acid amidase (NAAA) is a lysosomal cysteine hydrolase involved in the degradation of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid ethanolamides (FAEs), a family of endogenous lipid agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α, which include oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). The β-lactone derivatives (S)-N-(2-oxo-3-oxetanyl)-3-phenylpropionamide (2) and (S)-N-(2-oxo-3-oxetanyl)-biphenyl-4-carboxamide (3) inhibit NAAA, prevent FAE hydrolysis in activated inflammatory cells, and reduce tissue reactions to pro-inflammatory stimuli. Recently, our group disclosed ARN077 (4), a potent NAAA inhibitor that is active in vivo by topical administration in rodent models of hyperalgesia and allodynia. In the present study, we investigated the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of threonine-derived β-lactone analogues of compound 4. The main results of this work were an enhancement of the inhibitory potency of β-lactone carbamate derivatives for NAAA and the identification of (4-phenylphenyl)-methyl-N-[(2S,3R)-2-methyl-4-oxo-oxetan-3-yl]carbamate (14q) as the first single-digit nanomolar inhibitor of intracellular NAAA activity (IC50 = 7 nM on both rat NAAA and human NAAA).

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