While anti-inflammatory properties of isocoumarins are known their PDE4 inhibitory potential was not explored previously. In our effort the non-PDE4 inhibitor isocoumarins were transformed into the promising inhibitors via introducing an aminosulfonyl/aminocarboxamide moiety to the C-3 benzene ring attached to the isocoumarin framework. This new class of isocoumarins were synthesized via a PdCl2-catalyzed construction of the 4-allyl substituted 3-aryl isocoumarin ring starting from the appropriate 2-alkynyl benzamide derivative. Several compounds showed good inhibition of PDE4B in vitro and the SAR indicated superiority of aminosulfonamide moiety over aminocarboxamide in terms of PDE4B inhibition. Two compounds 3q and 3u with PDE4B IC50 = 0.43 ± 0.11 and 0.54 ± 0.19 μM and ≥ 2-fold selectivity over PDE4D emerged as initial hits. The participation of aminosulfonamide moiety in PDE4B inhibition and the reason for selectivity though moderate shown by 3q and 3u was revealed by the in silico docking studies. In view of potential usefulness of moderately selective PDE4B inhibitors the compound 3u (that showed PDE4 selectivity over other PDEs) was further evaluated in adjuvant induced arthritic rats. At an intraperitoneal dose of 30 mg/kg the compound showed a significant reduction in paw swelling (in a dose dependent manner), inflammation and pannus formation (in the knee joints) as well as pro-inflammatory gene expression/mRNA levels and increase in body weight. Moreover, besides its TNF-α inhibition and no significant toxicity in an MTT assay the compound did not show any adverse effects in a thorough toxicity studies e.g. teratogenicity, hepatotoxicity, cardiotoxicity and apoptosis in zebrafish. Thus, the isocoumarin 3u emerged as a new, safe and moderately selective PDE4B inhibitor could be useful for inflammatory diseases possibly including COVID-19.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Drug Discovery
- Organic Chemistry