Multi-targeted ChEI-copper chelating molecules as neuroprotective agents

Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Jul 15;174:216-225. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.04.060. Epub 2019 Apr 23.


The identification of a valid therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD) represents nowadays an urgent and still unmet medical need, since currently available anti-AD drugs only relieve symptoms and show a modest efficacy. Recent evidence indicates that multi-target-directed ligands (MTDLs) can potentially provide an effective strategy to develop innovative therapies directed towards the onset and progression of this multifactorial neurodegenerative disorder. In this work we designed, synthesized and evaluated a new series of MTDLs bearing the rivastigmine skeleton (ChE-inhibitor) linked to known metal-chelating moieties with linkers of different length. For all the novel derivatives, AChE/BuChE inhibitory activity, ROS scavenging activity and potential cytotoxicity have been assessed. For the best compound (4), copper chelating properties and neuroprotective effects were also evaluated. Our data demonstrated that hybrid derivative 4 is able to effectively inhibit AChE and BuChE and to chelate copper, showing a protective action on neurons. These results, although preliminary, indicate that compound 4 can be considered as a possible hit molecule for the development of new anti-AD MTDLs.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Hybrids; Multi-target-directed ligands; Neuroprotective agents; Rivastigmine.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Chelating Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chelating Agents / toxicity
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / chemical synthesis
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / toxicity
  • Coordination Complexes / chemical synthesis
  • Coordination Complexes / pharmacology*
  • Coordination Complexes / toxicity
  • Copper / chemistry*
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemical synthesis
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Free Radical Scavengers / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / toxicity
  • Rivastigmine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Rivastigmine / chemical synthesis
  • Rivastigmine / pharmacology*
  • Rivastigmine / toxicity


  • Chelating Agents
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Coordination Complexes
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Copper
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Rivastigmine