Novel tetrahydropyrido[1,2-a]isoindolone derivatives (valmerins): potent cyclin-dependent kinase/glycogen synthase kinase 3 inhibitors with antiproliferative activities and antitumor effects in human tumor xenografts

J Med Chem. 2012 Nov 26;55(22):9589-606. doi: 10.1021/jm3008536. Epub 2012 Nov 1.


The development of CDK and GSK3 inhibitors has been regarded as a potential therapeutic approach, and a substantial number of diverse structures have been reported to inhibit CDKs and GSK-3β in recent years. Only a few molecules have gone through or are currently undergoing clinical trials as CDK and GSK inhibitors. In this paper, we prepared valmerins, a new family containing the tetrahydropyrido[1,2-a]isoindone core. The fused heterocycle was prepared with a straightforward synthesis that was functionalized by a (het)arylurea. Twelve valmerins inhibited the CDK5 and GSK3 with an IC(50) < 100 nM. A semiquantitative kinase scoring was realized, and a cellular screening was done. At the end of our study, we investigated the in vivo potency of one valmerin. Mice exhibited good tolerance to our lead, which proved its efficacy and clearly blocked tumor growth. Valmerins appear also as good candidates for further development as anticancer agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5
  • GSK3B protein, human
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Gsk3b protein, mouse
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3