Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play important roles in the innate immune system. In fact, recognition of endogenous immune complexes containing self-nucleic acids as pathogen- or damage-associated molecular patterns contributes to certain autoimmune diseases, and inhibition of these recognition signals is expected to have therapeutic value. We identified dihydropyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines as novel selective TLR9 antagonists with high aqueous solubility. A structure-activity relationship study of a known TLR9 antagonist led to the promising compound 18, which showed potent TLR9 antagonistic activity, sufficient aqueous solubility for parenteral formulation, and druggable properties. Compound 18 suppressed the production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6 in CpG-induced mouse model. It is therefore believed that compound 18 has great potential in the treatment of TLR9-mediated systemic uncontrollable inflammatory response like sepsis.
Keywords: LLE; Toll-like receptor 9; autoimmune disease; dihydropyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine; sepsis.