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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A prodrug form of a Plasmodium falciparum glutathione reductase inhibitor conjugated with a 4-anilinoquinoline.

Glutathione (GSH), which is known to guard Plasmodium falciparum from oxidative damage, may have an additional protective role by promoting heme catabolism. An elevation of GSH content in parasites leads to increased resistance to chloroquine (CQ), while GSH depletion in resistant P. falciparum strains is expected to restore the sensitivity to CQ. High intracellular GSH levels depend inter alia on the efficient reduction of GSSG by glutathione reductase ( GR). On the basis of this hypothesis, we have developed a new strategy for overcoming glutathione-dependent 4-aminoquinoline resistance. To direct both a 4-aminoquinoline and a GR inhibitor to the parasite, double-drugs were designed and synthesized. Quinoline-based alcohols (with known antimalarial activity) were combined with a GR inhibitor via a metabolically labile ester bond to give double-headed prodrugs. The biochemically most active double-drug 7 of this series was then evaluated as a growth inhibitor against six Plasmodium falciparum strains that differed in their degree of resistance to CQ; the ED(50) values for CQ ranged from 14 to 183 nM. While the inhibitory activity of the original 4-aminoquinoline-based alcohol followed that of CQ in these tests, the double-drug exhibited similar efficiency against all strains, the ED(50) being as low as 28 nM. For the ester 7, a dose-dependent decrease in glutathione content and GR activity and an increase in glutathione-S-transferase activity were determined in treated parasites. The drug was subsequently tested for its antimalarial action in vivo using murine malaria models infected with P. berghei. A 178% excess mean survival time was determined for the animals treated with 40 mg/kg 7 for 4 days. No cytotoxicity due to this compound was observed. Work is in progress to extend and validate the strategy outlined here.[1]


  1. A prodrug form of a Plasmodium falciparum glutathione reductase inhibitor conjugated with a 4-anilinoquinoline. Davioud-Charvet, E., Delarue, S., Biot, C., Schwöbel, B., Boehme, C.C., Müssigbrodt, A., Maes, L., Sergheraert, C., Grellier, P., Schirmer, R.H., Becker, K. J. Med. Chem. (2001) [Pubmed]
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