Identification and characterization of novel small-molecule protease-activated receptor 2 agonists

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2008 Dec;327(3):799-808. doi: 10.1124/jpet.108.142570. Epub 2008 Sep 3.


We report the first small-molecule protease-activated receptor (PAR) 2 agonists, AC-55541 [N-[[1-(3-bromo-phenyl)-eth-(E)-ylidene-hydrazinocarbonyl]-(4-oxo-3,4-dihydro-phthalazin-1-yl)-methyl]-benzamide] and AC-264613 [2-oxo-4-phenylpyrrolidine-3-carboxylic acid [1-(3-bromo-phenyl)-(E/Z)-ethylidene]-hydrazide], each representing a distinct chemical series. AC-55541 and AC-264613 each activated PAR2 signaling in cellular proliferation assays, phosphatidylinositol hydrolysis assays, and Ca(2+) mobilization assays, with potencies ranging from 200 to 1000 nM for AC-55541 and 30 to 100 nM for AC-264613. In comparison, the PAR2-activating peptide 2-furoyl-LIGRLO-NH(2) had similar potency, whereas SLIGRL-NH(2) was 30 to 300 times less potent. Neither AC-55541 nor AC-264613 had activity at any of the other PAR receptor subtypes, nor did they have any significant affinity for over 30 other molecular targets involved in nociception. Visualization of EYFP-tagged PAR2 receptors showed that each compound stimulated internalization of PAR2 receptors. AC-55541 and AC-264613 were well absorbed when administered intraperitoneally to rats, each reaching micromolar peak plasma concentrations. AC-55541 and AC-264613 were each stable to metabolism by liver microsomes and maintained sustained exposure in rats, with elimination half-lives of 6.1 and 2.5 h, respectively. Intrapaw administration of AC-55541 or AC-264613 elicited robust and persistent thermal hyperalgesia and edema. Coadministration of either a tachykinin 1 (neurokinin 1) receptor antagonist or a transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) 1 antagonist completely blocked these effects. Systemic administration of either AC-55541 or AC-264613 produced a similar degree of hyperalgesia as was observed when the compounds were administered locally. These compounds represent novel small-molecule PAR2 agonists that will be useful in probing the physiological functions of PAR2 receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Stability
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Endocytosis
  • Hydrolysis / drug effects
  • Hyperalgesia / chemically induced
  • Ligands
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptor, PAR-2 / agonists*


  • Ligands
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Receptor, PAR-2