Structural aspects of 4-aminoquinolines as reversible inhibitors of human acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase

Chem Biol Interact. 2019 Aug 1:308:101-109. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2019.05.024. Epub 2019 May 15.


Eight derivatives of 4-aminoquinolines differing in the substituents attached to the C(4)-amino group and C(7) were synthesised and tested as inhibitors of human acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). Both enzymes were inhibited by all of the compounds with inhibition constants (Ki) ranging from 0.50 to 50 μM exhibiting slight selectivity toward AChE over BChE. The most potent inhibitors of AChE were compounds with an n-octylamino chain or adamantyl group. The shortening of the chain length resulted in a decrease in AChE inhibition by 5-20 times. Docking studies revealed that the quinoline group within the AChE active site was positioned in the choline binding site, while the C(4)-amino group substituents, depending on their lipophilicity, could establish hydrogen bonds or π-interactions with residues of the peripheral anionic site. The most potent inhibitors of BChE were compounds with the most voluminous substituent on C(4)-amino group (adamantyl) or those with a stronger electron withdrawing substituent on C(7) (trifluormethyl group). Based on AChE inhibition, compounds with an n-octylamino chain or adamantyl substituent were shown to possess the capacity for further development as potential drugs for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Cholinesterase; Quinoline-based compounds; Selectivity; pK(a) value.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / chemistry*
  • Acetylcholinesterase / genetics
  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Aminoquinolines / chemistry*
  • Aminoquinolines / metabolism
  • Binding Sites
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / chemistry*
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / genetics
  • Butyrylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification


  • Aminoquinolines
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • 4-aminoquinoline