Phenolic Lipids Derived from Cashew Nut Shell Liquid to Treat Metabolic Diseases

J Med Chem. 2022 Feb 10;65(3):1961-1978. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c01542. Epub 2022 Jan 28.


Metabolic diseases are increasing at staggering rates globally. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARα/γ/δ) are fatty acid sensors that help mitigate imbalances between energy uptake and utilization. Herein, we report compounds derived from phenolic lipids present in cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), an abundant waste byproduct, in an effort to create effective, accessible, and sustainable drugs. Derivatives of anacardic acid and cardanol were tested for PPAR activity in HEK293 cell co-transfection assays, primary hepatocytes, and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. In vivo studies using PPAR-expressing zebrafish embryos identified CNSL derivatives with varying tissue-specific activities. LDT409 (23) is an analogue of cardanol with partial agonist activity for PPARα and PPARγ. Pharmacokinetic profiling showed that 23 is orally bioavailable with a half-life of 4 h in mice. CNSL derivatives represent a sustainable source of selective PPAR modulators with balanced intermediate affinities (EC50 ∼ 100 nM to 10 μM) that provide distinct and favorable gene activation profiles for the treatment of diabetes and obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Anacardic Acids / chemical synthesis
  • Anacardic Acids / metabolism
  • Anacardic Acids / pharmacokinetics
  • Anacardic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Anacardium / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Drug Design
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Nuts / chemistry*
  • PPAR alpha / agonists*
  • PPAR alpha / chemistry
  • PPAR delta / agonists*
  • PPAR delta / chemistry
  • PPAR gamma / agonists*
  • PPAR gamma / chemistry
  • Protein Domains
  • Zebrafish


  • Anacardic Acids
  • PPAR alpha
  • PPAR delta
  • PPAR gamma