Background: Many enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strains produce the heat-stable toxin, STa, which, by activation of the intestinal receptor-enzyme guanylyl cyclase (GC) C, triggers an acute, watery diarrhea. We set out to identify GCC inhibitors that may be of benefit for the treatment of infectious diarrheal disease.
Methods: Compounds that inhibit STa-induced cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP) production were selected by performing cyclase assays on cells and membranes containing GCC, or the related GCA. The effect of leads on STa/GCC-dependent activation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator anion channel was investigated in T84 cells, and in porcine and human intestinal tissue. Their effect on STa-provoked fluid transport was assessed in ligated intestinal loops in piglets.
Results: Four N-2-(propylamino)-6-phenylpyrimidin-4-one-substituted piperidines were shown to inhibit GCC-mediated cellular cGMP production. The half maximal inhibitory concentrations were ≤ 5 × 10(-7) mol/L, whereas they were >10 times higher for GCA. In T84 monolayers, these leads blocked STa/GCC-dependent, but not forskolin/adenylyl cyclase-dependent, cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator activity. GCC inhibition reduced STa-provoked anion secretion in pig jejunal tissue, and fluid retention and cGMP levels in STa-exposed loops. These GCC inhibitors blocked STa-provoked anion secretion in rectal biopsy specimens.
Conclusions: We have identified a novel class of GCC inhibitors that may form the basis for development of future therapeutics for (infectious) diarrheal disease.
Keywords: CFTR; enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC); guanylyl cyclase C; secretory diarrhea.
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