Discovery of Brain-Penetrant, Irreversible Kynurenine Aminotransferase II Inhibitors for Schizophrenia

ACS Med Chem Lett. 2012 Jan 25;3(3):187-92. doi: 10.1021/ml200204m. eCollection 2012 Mar 8.


Kynurenine aminotransferase (KAT) II has been identified as a potential new target for the treatment of cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Following a high-throughput screen, cyclic hydroxamic acid PF-04859989 was identified as a potent and selective inhibitor of human and rat KAT II. An X-ray crystal structure and (13)C NMR studies of PF-04859989 bound to KAT II have demonstrated that this compound forms a covalent adduct with the enzyme cofactor, pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), in the active site. In vivo pharmacokinetic and efficacy studies in rat show that PF-04859989 is a brain-penetrant, irreversible inhibitor and is capable of reducing brain kynurenic acid by 50% at a dose of 10 mg/kg (sc). Preliminary structure-activity relationship investigations have been completed and have identified the positions on this scaffold best suited to modification for further optimization of this novel series of KAT II inhibitors.

Keywords: KAT II; hydroxamic acid; kynurenic acid; kynurenine aminotransferase.