Selected Papers from the 6th International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry (ECMC2020)

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021) | Viewed by 51246

Special Issue Editors

Formerly Head of the Department of Organic Chemistry (FS), University of Mons-UMONS, 7000 Mons, Belgium
Interests: heterocycles; medicinal chemistry; green chemistry; microwave-induced synthesis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sixth edition of our series of electronic conferences on medicinal chemistry (https://ecmc2020.sciforum.net/) was hosted on the online platform “sciforum.net” from November 1 to November 30, 2020. We would like to warmly thank the hundreds of participants and the thousands of visitors who contributed to the success of this virtual event. The most outstanding works have been rewarded by our generous sponsors and, in this Special Issue, we wish to present a range of featured topics disclosed during the conference.

Dr. Jean Jacques Vanden Eynde
Dr. Annie Mayence
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Pharmaceuticals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (14 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

19 pages, 1804 KiB  
Article
Preclinical Studies in Anti-Trypanosomatidae Drug Development
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(7), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14070644 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2425
Abstract
The trypanosomatid parasites Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania are the causative agents of human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas Disease and Leishmaniasis, respectively. These infections primarily affect poor, rural communities in the developing world, and are responsible for trapping sufferers and their families [...] Read more.
The trypanosomatid parasites Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania are the causative agents of human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas Disease and Leishmaniasis, respectively. These infections primarily affect poor, rural communities in the developing world, and are responsible for trapping sufferers and their families in a disease/poverty cycle. The development of new chemotherapies is a priority given that existing drug treatments are problematic. In our search for novel anti-trypanosomatid agents, we assess the growth-inhibitory properties of >450 compounds from in-house and/or “Pathogen Box” (PBox) libraries against L. infantum, L. amazonensis, L.braziliensis, T. cruzi and T. brucei and evaluate the toxicities of the most promising agents towards murine macrophages. Screens using the in-house series identified 17 structures with activity against and selective toward Leishmania: Compounds displayed 50% inhibitory concentrations between 0.09 and 25 μM and had selectivity index values >10. For the PBox library, ~20% of chemicals exhibited anti-parasitic properties including five structures whose activity against L. infantum had not been reported before. These five compounds displayed no toxicity towards murine macrophages over the range tested with three being active in an in vivo murine model of the cutaneous disease, with 100% survival of infected animals. Additionally, the oral combination of three of them in the in vivo Chagas disease murine model demonstrated full control of the parasitemia. Interestingly, phenotyping revealed that the reference strain responds differently to the five PBox-derived chemicals relative to parasites isolated from a dog. Together, our data identified one drug candidate that displays activity against Leishmania and other Trypanosomatidae in vitro and in vivo, while exhibiting low toxicity to cultured mammalian cells and low in vivo acute toxicity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 2970 KiB  
Article
Discovery of Selective Inhibitor Leads by Targeting an Allosteric Site in Insulin-Regulated Aminopeptidase
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14060584 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2582
Abstract
Insulin-Regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) is a zinc-dependent aminopeptidase with several important biological functions and is an emerging pharmaceutical target for cognitive enhancement and immune system regulation. Aiming to discover lead-like IRAP inhibitors with enhanced selectivity versus homologous enzymes, we targeted an allosteric site at [...] Read more.
Insulin-Regulated aminopeptidase (IRAP) is a zinc-dependent aminopeptidase with several important biological functions and is an emerging pharmaceutical target for cognitive enhancement and immune system regulation. Aiming to discover lead-like IRAP inhibitors with enhanced selectivity versus homologous enzymes, we targeted an allosteric site at the C-terminal domain pocket of IRAP. We compiled a library of 2.5 million commercially available compounds from the ZINC database, and performed molecular docking at the target pocket of IRAP and the corresponding pocket of the homologous endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1). Of the top compounds that showed high selectivity, 305 were further analyzed by molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations, leading to the selection of 33 compounds for in vitro evaluation. Two orthogonal functional assays were employed: one using a small fluorogenic substrate and one following the degradation of oxytocin, a natural peptidic substrate of IRAP. In vitro evaluation suggested that several of the compounds tested can inhibit IRAP, but the inhibition profile was dependent on substrate size, consistent with the allosteric nature of the targeted site. Overall, our results describe several novel leads as IRAP inhibitors and suggest that the C-terminal domain pocket of IRAP is a promising target for developing highly selective IRAP inhibitors. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 2923 KiB  
Article
Potent Antiviral Activity against HSV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 by Antimicrobial Peptoids
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(4), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14040304 - 31 Mar 2021
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 9255
Abstract
Viral infections, such as those caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1) and SARS-CoV-2, affect millions of people each year. However, there are few antiviral drugs that can effectively treat these infections. The standard approach in the development of antiviral drugs involves the identification [...] Read more.
Viral infections, such as those caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1) and SARS-CoV-2, affect millions of people each year. However, there are few antiviral drugs that can effectively treat these infections. The standard approach in the development of antiviral drugs involves the identification of a unique viral target, followed by the design of an agent that addresses that target. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent a novel source of potential antiviral drugs. AMPs have been shown to inactivate numerous different enveloped viruses through the disruption of their viral envelopes. However, the clinical development of AMPs as antimicrobial therapeutics has been hampered by a number of factors, especially their enzymatically labile structure as peptides. We have examined the antiviral potential of peptoid mimics of AMPs (sequence-specific N-substituted glycine oligomers). These peptoids have the distinct advantage of being insensitive to proteases, and also exhibit increased bioavailability and stability. Our results demonstrate that several peptoids exhibit potent in vitro antiviral activity against both HSV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 when incubated prior to infection. In other words, they have a direct effect on the viral structure, which appears to render the viral particles non-infective. Visualization by cryo-EM shows viral envelope disruption similar to what has been observed with AMP activity against other viruses. Furthermore, we observed no cytotoxicity against primary cultures of oral epithelial cells. These results suggest a common or biomimetic mechanism, possibly due to the differences between the phospholipid head group makeup of viral envelopes and host cell membranes, thus underscoring the potential of this class of molecules as safe and effective broad-spectrum antiviral agents. We discuss how and why differing molecular features between 10 peptoid candidates may affect both antiviral activity and selectivity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 2546 KiB  
Article
In Silico Plasma Protein Binding Studies of Selected Group of Drugs Using TLC and HPLC Retention Data
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14030202 - 28 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1906
Abstract
Plasma protein binding is an important determinant of the pharmacokinetic properties of chemical compounds in living organisms. The aim of the present study was to determine the index of protein binding affinity based on chromatographic experiments. The question is which chromatographic environment will [...] Read more.
Plasma protein binding is an important determinant of the pharmacokinetic properties of chemical compounds in living organisms. The aim of the present study was to determine the index of protein binding affinity based on chromatographic experiments. The question is which chromatographic environment will best mimic the drug–protein binding conditions. Retention data from normal phase thin-layer liquid chromatography (NP TLC), reversed phase (RP) TLC and HPLC chromatography experiments with 129 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) were collected. The stationary phase of the TLC plates was modified with protein and the HPLC column was filled with immobilized human serum albumin. In both chromatographic methods, the mobile phase was based on a buffer with a pH of 7.4 to mimic physiological conditions. Chemometric analyses were performed to compare multiple linear regression models (MLRs) with retention data, using protein binding values as the dependent variable. In the course of the analysis, APIs were divided into acidic, basic and neutral groups, and separate models were created for each group. The MLR models had a coefficient of determination between 0.73 and 0.91, with the highest values from NP TLC data. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 1448 KiB  
Article
Application of RP-18 TLC Retention Data to the Prediction of the Transdermal Absorption of Drugs
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(2), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14020147 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2079
Abstract
Several chromatographic parameters (RM0 and S obtained from RP-18 TLC with methanol—pH 7.4 phosphate buffer mobile phases by extrapolation to zero concentration of methanol; Rf and RM obtained from RP-18 TLC with acetonitrile—pH 7.4 phosphate buffer 70:30 v [...] Read more.
Several chromatographic parameters (RM0 and S obtained from RP-18 TLC with methanol—pH 7.4 phosphate buffer mobile phases by extrapolation to zero concentration of methanol; Rf and RM obtained from RP-18 TLC with acetonitrile—pH 7.4 phosphate buffer 70:30 v/v as a mobile phase) and calculated molecular descriptors (molecular weight—MW; molar volume—VM; polar surface area—PSA; total count of nitrogen and oxygen atoms—(N+O); H-bond donor count—HD; H-bond acceptor count—HA; distribution coefficient—log D; total energy—ET; binding energy—Eb; hydration energy—Eh; energy of the highest occupied molecular orbital—EHOMO; energy of the lowest unoccupied orbital—ELUMO; electronic energy—Ee; surface area—Sa; octanol-water partition coefficient—log P; dipole moment—DM; refractivity—R, polarizability—α) and their combinations (Rf/PSA, RM/MW, RM/VM) were tested in order to generate useful models of solutes’ skin permeability coefficient log Kp. It was established that neither RM0 nor S obtained in the conditions used in this study is a good predictor of the skin permeability coefficient. The chromatographic parameters Rf and Rf/PSA were also unsuitable for this purpose. A simple and potentially useful, purely computational model based on (N+O), log D and HD as independent variables and accounting for ca. 83% of total variability was obtained. The evaluation of parameters derived from RM (RM, RM/MW, RM/VM) as independent variables in log Kp models proved that RM/VM is the most suitable descriptor belonging to this group. In a search for a reliable log Kp model based on this descriptor two possibilities were considered: a relatively simple model based on 5 independent variables: (N+O), log D, RM/VM, ET and Eh and a more complex one, involving also Eb, MW and PSA. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

26 pages, 2281 KiB  
Article
An Angiopep2-PAPTP Construct Overcomes the Blood-Brain Barrier. New Perspectives against Brain Tumors
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14020129 - 06 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2571
Abstract
A developing family of chemotherapeutics—derived from 5-(4-phenoxybutoxy)psoralen (PAP-1)—target mitochondrial potassium channel mtKv1.3 to selectively induce oxidative stress and death of diseased cells. The key to their effectiveness is the presence of a positively charged triphenylphosphonium group which drives their accumulation in the organelles. [...] Read more.
A developing family of chemotherapeutics—derived from 5-(4-phenoxybutoxy)psoralen (PAP-1)—target mitochondrial potassium channel mtKv1.3 to selectively induce oxidative stress and death of diseased cells. The key to their effectiveness is the presence of a positively charged triphenylphosphonium group which drives their accumulation in the organelles. These compounds have proven their preclinical worth in murine models of cancers such as melanoma and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. In in vitro experiments they also efficiently killed glioblastoma cells, but in vivo they were powerless against orthotopic glioma because they were completely unable to overcome the blood-brain barrier. In an effort to improve brain delivery we have now coupled one of these promising compounds, PAPTP, to well-known cell-penetrating and brain-targeting peptides TAT48–61 and Angiopep-2. Coupling has been obtained by linking one of the phenyl groups of the triphenylphosphonium to the first amino acid of the peptide via a reversible carbamate ester bond. Both TAT48–61 and Angiopep-2 allowed the delivery of 0.3–0.4 nmoles of construct per gram of brain tissue upon intravenous (i.v.) injection of 5 µmoles/kg bw to mice. This is the first evidence of PAPTP delivery to the brain; the chemical strategy described here opens the possibility to conjugate PAPTP to small peptides in order to fine-tune tissue distribution of this interesting compound. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

29 pages, 3953 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Anticancer Activity of Hybrid Molecules Based on Lithocholic and (5Z,9Z)-Tetradeca-5,9-dienedioic Acids Linked via Mono(di,tri,tetra)ethylene Glycol and α,ω-Diaminoalkane Units
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14020084 - 23 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2014
Abstract
For the first time, hybrid molecules were synthesized on the basis of lithocholic and (5Z,9Z)-1,14-tetradeca-5,9-dienedicarboxylic acids, obtained in two stages using the homo-cyclomagnesiation reaction of 2-(hepta-5,6-diene-1-yloxy)tetrahydro-2H-pyran at the key stage. The resulting hybrid molecules containing 5Z,9Z [...] Read more.
For the first time, hybrid molecules were synthesized on the basis of lithocholic and (5Z,9Z)-1,14-tetradeca-5,9-dienedicarboxylic acids, obtained in two stages using the homo-cyclomagnesiation reaction of 2-(hepta-5,6-diene-1-yloxy)tetrahydro-2H-pyran at the key stage. The resulting hybrid molecules containing 5Z,9Z-dienoic acids are of interest as novel synthetic biologically active precursors to create modern drugs for the treatment of human oncological diseases. The synthesized hybrid molecules were found to exhibit extremely high in vitro inhibitory activity against human topoisomerase I, which is 2–4 times higher than that of camptothecin, a known topoisomerase I inhibitor. Using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy, it was first shown that these new molecules are efficient apoptosis inducers in HeLa, U937, Jurkat, K562, and Hek293 cell cultures. In addition, the results of investigations into the effect of the synthesized acids on mitochondria and studies of possible DNA damage in Jurkat tumor cells are also presented. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

16 pages, 2983 KiB  
Article
Drug Repurposing: Dipeptidyl Peptidase IV (DPP4) Inhibitors as Potential Agents to Treat SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) Infection
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14010044 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3317
Abstract
The current outbreak of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (SARS) or nCOVID-19 pandemic, caused by the coronavirus-2 (CoV-2), continues to wreak havoc globally. As novel vaccines are being discovered and developed, small molecule drugs still constitute a viable treatment option for SARS-CoV-2 infections [...] Read more.
The current outbreak of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (SARS) or nCOVID-19 pandemic, caused by the coronavirus-2 (CoV-2), continues to wreak havoc globally. As novel vaccines are being discovered and developed, small molecule drugs still constitute a viable treatment option for SARS-CoV-2 infections due to their advantages such as superior patient compliance for oral therapies, reduced manufacturing costs and ease of large scale distribution due to better stability and storage profiles. Discovering new drugs for SARS-CoV-2 infections is a time consuming and expensive proposition. In this regard, drug repurposing is an appealing approach which can provide rapid access to therapeutics with proven record of safety and efficacy. We investigated the drug repurposing potential of a library of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitors which are currently marketed for type-2 diabetes as treatment option for SARS-CoV-2 infections. These computational studies led to the identification of three marketed DPP4 inhibitors; gemigliptin, linagliptin and evogliptin as potential inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro viral cysteine protease. In addition, our computational modeling shows that these drugs have the potential to inhibit other viral cysteine proteases from the beta coronavirus family, including the SAR-CoV Mpro and MERS-CoV CLpro suggesting their potential to be repurposed as broad-spectrum antiviral agents. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

20 pages, 2585 KiB  
Article
Copper(II) and Zinc(II) Complexes with the Clinically Used Fluconazole: Comparison of Antifungal Activity and Therapeutic Potential
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14010024 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3990
Abstract
Copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes with clinically used antifungal drug fluconazole (fcz), {[CuCl2(fcz)2].5H2O}n, 1, and {[ZnCl2(fcz)2]·2C2H5OH}n, 2, were prepared and characterized by [...] Read more.
Copper(II) and zinc(II) complexes with clinically used antifungal drug fluconazole (fcz), {[CuCl2(fcz)2].5H2O}n, 1, and {[ZnCl2(fcz)2]·2C2H5OH}n, 2, were prepared and characterized by spectroscopic and crystallographic methods. The polymeric structure of the complexes comprises four fluconazole molecules monodentately coordinated via the triazole nitrogen and two chlorido ligands. With respect to fluconazole, complex 2 showed significantly higher antifungal activity against Candida krusei and Candida parapsilosis. All tested compounds reduced the total amount of ergosterol at subinhibitory concentrations, indicating that the mode of activity of fluconazole was retained within the complexes, which was corroborated via molecular docking with cytochrome P450 sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) as a target. Electrostatic, steric and internal energy interactions between the complexes and enzyme showed that 2 has higher binding potency to this target. Both complexes showed strong inhibition of C. albicans filamentation and biofilm formation at subinhibitory concentrations, with 2 being able to reduce the adherence of C. albicans to A549 cells in vitro. Complex 2 was able to reduce pyocyanin production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa between 10% and 25% and to inhibit its biofilm formation by 20% in comparison to the untreated control. These results suggest that complex 2 may be further examined in the mixed Candida-P. aeruginosa infections. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 4582 KiB  
Article
Bornyl Derivatives of p-(Benzyloxy)Phenylpropionic Acid: In Vivo Evaluation of Antidiabetic Activity
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(11), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13110404 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2409
Abstract
A series of bornyl derivatives of p-(benzyloxy)phenylpropionic acid were prepared, and their hypoglycemic activities were examined by an oral glucose tolerance test in mice. The results of this test revealed two compounds, 1 and 3, that can reduce the blood level [...] Read more.
A series of bornyl derivatives of p-(benzyloxy)phenylpropionic acid were prepared, and their hypoglycemic activities were examined by an oral glucose tolerance test in mice. The results of this test revealed two compounds, 1 and 3, that can reduce the blood level of glucose similarly to reference compound vildagliptin. Both compounds were tested in an experiment on mice with metabolic disorders: the C57BL/6Ay strain. Along with hypoglycemic properties, the two compounds showed different abilities to correct lipid metabolism disorders. In silico prediction revealed that the studied substances are most likely bifunctional multitarget hypoglycemic compounds whose mechanism of action is based on a pronounced reduction in insulin resistance and a strong incretin-mimetic effect. The difference in the size of effects of these compounds on biochemical parameters of blood in the experiment on C57BL/6Ay mice was in good agreement with the computational prediction of the priority ranking of biological targets for these compounds. These results indicate that bornyl derivatives of p-(benzyloxy)phenylpropionic acid have a good potential as new agents for diabetes mellitus treatment due to their hypoglycemic and lipid-normalizing properties. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review

Jump to: Research

14 pages, 1324 KiB  
Review
ADME and Pharmacokinetic Properties of Remdesivir: Its Drug Interaction Potential
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(7), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14070655 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 7732
Abstract
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a global pandemic, which tested healthcare systems, administrations, and treatment ingenuity across the world. COVID-19 is caused by the novel beta coronavirus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus [...] Read more.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a global pandemic, which tested healthcare systems, administrations, and treatment ingenuity across the world. COVID-19 is caused by the novel beta coronavirus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Since the inception of the pandemic, treatment options have been either limited or ineffective. Remdesivir, a drug originally designed to be used for Ebola virus, has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 and has been included in the COVID-19 treatment regimens. Remdesivir is an adenosine nucleotide analog prodrug that is metabolically activated to a nucleoside triphosphate metabolite (GS-443902). The active nucleoside triphosphate metabolite is incorporated into the SARS-CoV-2 RNA viral chains, preventing its replication. The lack of reported drug development and characterization studies with remdesivir in public domain has created a void where information on the absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination (ADME) properties, pharmacokinetics (PK), or drug-drug interaction (DDI) is limited. By understanding these properties, clinicians can prevent subtherapeutic and supratherapeutic levels of remdesivir and thus avoid further complications in COVID-19 patients. Remdesivir is metabolized by both cytochrome P450 (CYP) and non-CYP enzymes such as carboxylesterases. In this narrative review, we have evaluated the currently available ADME, PK, and DDI information about remdesivir and have discussed the potential of DDIs between remdesivir and different COVID-19 drug regimens and agents used for comorbidities. Considering the nascent status of remdesivir in the therapeutic domain, extensive future work is needed to formulate safer COVID-19 treatment guidelines involving this medication. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 1838 KiB  
Review
Human Endogenous Retrovirus as Therapeutic Targets in Neurologic Disease
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(6), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14060495 - 24 May 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4349
Abstract
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are ancient retroviral DNA sequences established into germline. They contain regulatory elements and encoded proteins few of which may provide benefits to hosts when co-opted as cellular genes. Their tight regulation is mainly achieved by epigenetic mechanisms, which can [...] Read more.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are ancient retroviral DNA sequences established into germline. They contain regulatory elements and encoded proteins few of which may provide benefits to hosts when co-opted as cellular genes. Their tight regulation is mainly achieved by epigenetic mechanisms, which can be altered by environmental factors, e.g., viral infections, leading to HERV activation. The aberrant expression of HERVs associates with neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), inflammatory processes and neurodegeneration. This review summarizes the recent advances on the epigenetic mechanisms controlling HERV expression and the pathogenic effects triggered by HERV de-repression. This article ends by describing new, promising therapies, targeting HERV elements, one of which, temelimab, has completed phase II trials with encouraging results in treating MS. The information gathered here may turn helpful in the design of new strategies to unveil epigenetic failures behind HERV-triggered diseases, opening new possibilities for druggable targets and/or for extending the use of temelimab to treat other associated diseases. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 660 KiB  
Review
Antimicrobial Peptides as Potential Anti-Tubercular Leads: A Concise Review
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(4), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14040323 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3255
Abstract
Despite being considered a public health emergency for the last 25 years, tuberculosis (TB) is still one of the deadliest infectious diseases, responsible for over a million deaths every year. The length and toxicity of available treatments and the increasing emergence of multidrug-resistant [...] Read more.
Despite being considered a public health emergency for the last 25 years, tuberculosis (TB) is still one of the deadliest infectious diseases, responsible for over a million deaths every year. The length and toxicity of available treatments and the increasing emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis renders standard regimens increasingly inefficient and emphasizes the urgency to develop new approaches that are not only cost- and time-effective but also less toxic. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are small cationic and amphipathic molecules that play a vital role in the host immune system by acting as a first barrier against invading pathogens. The broad spectrum of properties that peptides possess make them one of the best possible alternatives for a new “post-antibiotic” era. In this context, research into AMP as potential anti-tubercular agents has been driven by the increasing danger revolving around the emergence of extremely-resistant strains, the innate resistance that mycobacteria possess and the low compliance of patients towards the toxic anti-TB treatments. In this review, we will focus on AMP from various sources, such as animal, non-animal and synthetic, with reported inhibitory activity towards Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 7575 KiB  
Review
A Robust Bioassay of the Human Bradykinin B2 Receptor That Extends Molecular and Cellular Studies: The Isolated Umbilical Vein
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(3), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14030177 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1936
Abstract
Bradykinin (BK) has various physiological and pathological roles. Medicinal chemistry efforts targeted toward the widely expressed BK B2 receptor (B2R), a G-protein-coupled receptor, were primarily aimed at developing antagonists. The only B2R antagonist in clinical use is the [...] Read more.
Bradykinin (BK) has various physiological and pathological roles. Medicinal chemistry efforts targeted toward the widely expressed BK B2 receptor (B2R), a G-protein-coupled receptor, were primarily aimed at developing antagonists. The only B2R antagonist in clinical use is the peptide icatibant, approved to abort attacks of hereditary angioedema. However, the anti-inflammatory applications of B2R antagonists are potentially wider. Furthermore, the B2R antagonists notoriously exhibit species-specific pharmacological profiles. Classical smooth muscle contractility assays are exploited over a time scale of several hours and support determining potency, competitiveness, residual agonist activity, specificity, and reversibility of pharmacological agents. The contractility assay based on the isolated human umbilical vein, expressing B2R at physiological density, was introduced when investigating the first non-peptide B2R antagonist (WIN 64338). Small ligand molecules characterized using the assay include the exquisitely potent competitive antagonist, Pharvaris Compound 3 or the partial agonist Fujisawa Compound 47a. The umbilical vein assay is also useful to verify pharmacologic properties of special peptide B2R ligands, such as the carboxypeptidase-activated latent agonists and fluorescent probes. Furthermore, the proposed agonist effect of tissue kallikrein on the B2R has been disproved using the vein. This assay stands in between cellular and molecular pharmacology and in vivo studies. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop