Design and synthesis of potent and selective azaindole-based Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitors

ChemMedChem. 2008 Dec;3(12):1893-904. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.200800211.


Rho kinase plays a pivotal role in several cellular processes such as vasoregulation, making it a suitable target for the treatment of hypertension and related disorders. We discovered a new compound class of Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitors containing a 7-azaindole hinge-binding scaffold tethered to an aminopyrimidine core. Herein we describe the structure-activity relationships elucidated through biochemical and functional assays. The introduction of suitable substituents at the 3-position of the bicyclic moiety led to an increase in activity, which was required to design compounds with favorable pharmacokinetic profile. Azaindole 32 was identified as a highly selective and orally available ROCK inhibitor able to cause a sustained blood pressure reduction in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Design
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Indoles / chemical synthesis
  • Indoles / chemistry*
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Models, Molecular
  • Pyrimidines / chemical synthesis
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • rho-Associated Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • rho-Associated Kinases / pharmacology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Indoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • rho-Associated Kinases