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FEBS Lett. 1987 Apr 20;214(2):291-4.

Antimalarial activity and inhibition of monoamine oxidases A and B by exo-erythrocytic antimalarials. Optical isomers of primaquine, N-acylated congeners, primaquine metabolites and 5-phenoxy-substituted analogues.


When the terminal amino group in the side chain of primaquine was blocked with an ethoxyacetyl group shown in 2, or eliminated by oxidative deamination to carboxylic acid 3, the antimalarial effect was markedly reduced in a screening assay which measures tissue schizonticidal activity. The optical isomers 1A and 1B of primaquine had similar antimalarial potency to the racemic mixture but 1B appeared less toxic. The 5-phenoxy-substituted analogue 4, belonging to a new class of antimalarials, showed similar potency in the assays to either 1A or 1B but seemed less cytotoxic than (+/-)-primaquine. Compounds 1A and 1B were found to be competitive inhibitors of human monoamine oxidase (MAO) A and B (Ki range 103-225 microM), but 4 showed 10-30-fold greater competitive inhibition of MAO A (Ki = 6.8 microM) and 40-90-fold greater non-competitive inhibition of MAO B (Ki = 2.3 microM).

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