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ACS Med Chem Lett. 2017 Dec 15;9(1):51-55. doi: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.7b00431. eCollection 2018 Jan 11.

Disconnecting the Estrogen Receptor Binding Properties and Antimicrobial Properties of Parabens through 3,5-Substitution.

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Department of Chemistry and Physics, Longwood University, 201 High Street, Farmville, Virginia 23909, United States.


Commercially utilized parabens are employed for their antimicrobial properties, but a weak binding to the estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) may lead to breast cancer in some applications. Modification of the paraben scaffold should allow for a disconnection of these observed properties. Toward this goal, various 3,5-substituted parabens were synthesized and assessed for antimicrobial properties against S. aureus as well as competitive binding to the ERα. The minimum inhibitory concentration assay confirmed retention of antimicrobial activity in many of these derivatives, while all compounds exhibited decreased xenoestrogen activity as determined by a combination of competitive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), proliferation, and estrogen receptor binding assay. Thus, these changes to the paraben scaffold have led to a multitude of paraben derivatives with antimicrobial properties up to 16 times more active than the parent paraben and that are devoid or significantly diminished of potential breast cancer causing properties.

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