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J Med Chem. 1999 Jan 14;42(1):164-72.

Carboxy-substituted cinnamides: a novel series of potent, orally active LTB4 receptor antagonists.

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Arthritis and Bone Metabolism Research, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, 556 Morris Avenue, Summit, New Jersey 07901, USA.


A series of carboxy-substituted cinnamides were investigated as antagonists of the human cell surface leukotriene B4 (LTB4) receptor. Binding was determined through measurement of [3H]LTB4 displacement from human neutrophils. Receptor antagonism was confirmed through a functional assay, which measures inhibition of Ca2+ release in human neutrophils. Potent antagonists were discovered through optimization of a random screening hit, a p-(alpha-methylbenzyloxy)cinnamide, having low-micromolar activity. Substantial improvement of in vitro potency was realized by the attachment of a carboxylic acid moiety to the cinnamide phenyl ring through a flexible tether, leading to identification of compounds with low-nanomolar potency. Modification of the benzyloxy substituent, either through ortho-substitution on the benzyloxy phenyl group or through replacement of the ether oxygen with a methylene or sulfur atom, produced achiral antagonists of equal or greater potency. The most potent compounds in vitro were assayed for oral activity using the arachidonic acid-induced mouse ear edema model of inflammation. Several compounds in this series were found to significantly inhibit edema formation and myeloperoxidase activity in this model up to 17 h after oral administration. Representatives of this series have been shown to be potent and long-acting orally active inhibitors of the LTB4 receptor.

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