A novel sulindac derivative protects against oxidative damage by a cyclooxygenase-independent mechanism

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2022 Jun 9;382(2):79-87. doi: 10.1124/jpet.122.001086. Online ahead of print.


Oxidative damage is believed to play a major role in the etiology of many age-related diseases and the normal aging process. We previously reported that sulindac, a cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor and FDA approved anti-inflammatory drug, has chemoprotective activity in cells and intact organs by initiating a pharmacological preconditioning response, similar to ischemic preconditioning (IPC). The mechanism is independent of its COX inhibitory activity as suggested by studies on the protection of the heart against oxidative damage from ischemia/reperfusion and retinal pigmented endothelial (RPE) cells against chemical oxidative and UV damage . Unfortunately, sulindac is not recommended for long-term use due to toxicities resulting from its COX inhibitory activity. To develop a safer and more efficacious derivative of sulindac, we screened a library of indenes and identified a lead compound, MCI-100, that lacked significant COX inhibitory activity but displayed greater potency than sulindac to protect RPE cells against oxidative damage. MCI-100 also protected the intact rat heart against ischemia/reperfusion damage following oral administration. The chemoprotective activity of MCI-100 involves a preconditioning response similar to sulindac, which is supported by RNA sequencing data showing common genes that are induced or repressed by sulindac or MCI-100 treatment. Both sulindac and MCI-100 protection against oxidative damage may involve modulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling resulting in proliferation while inhibiting TGFb signaling leading to apoptosis. In summary MCI-100, is more active than sulindac in protecting cells against oxidative damage, but without significant NSAID activity, and could have therapeutic potential in treatment of diseases that involve oxidative damage. Significance Statement In this study, we describe a novel sulindac derivative, MCI-100, that lacks significant COX inhibitory activity, but is appreciably more potent than sulindac in protecting retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells against oxidative damage. Oral administration of MCI-100 markedly protected the rat heart against ischemia/reperfusion damage. MCI-100 has potential therapeutic value as a drug candidate for age-related diseases by protecting cells against oxidative damage and preventing organ failure.

Keywords: COX-1; COX-2; Oxidative stress; aging; cardiac ischemia; ischemia / reperfusion injury; oxidative injury; oxygen radicals.