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Bioorg Med Chem. 2012 Nov 1;20(21):6375-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2012.08.061. Epub 2012 Sep 11.

Design, synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a series of α-substituted phenylpropanoic acid PPARγ agonists to further investigate the stereochemistry-activity relationship.

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Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, 1-1-1 Tsushima-Naka, Kita-ku, Okayama 700-8530, Japan.


We previously demonstrated that the α-benzylphenylpropanoic acid-type PPARγ-selective agonist 6 exhibited a reversed stereochemistry-activity relationship, that is, the (R)-enantiomer is a more potent PPARγ agonist than the (S)-enantiomer, compared with structurally similar α-ethylphenylpropanoic acid-type PPAR agonists. Here, we designed, synthesized and evaluated the optically active α-cyclohexylmethylphenylpropanoic acid derivatives 7 and α-phenethylphenylpropanoic acid derivatives 8, respectively. Interestingly, α-cyclohexylmethyl derivatives showed reversal of the stereochemistry-activity relationship [i.e., (R) more potent than (S)], like α-benzyl derivatives, whereas α-phenethyl derivatives showed the 'normal' relationship [(S) more potent than (R)]. These results suggested that the presence of a branched carbon atom at the β-position with respect to the carboxyl group is a critical determinant of the reversed stereochemistry-activity relationship.

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