Antiplasmodial and Antimalarial Activity of 3,5-Diarylidenetetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-ones via Inhibition of Plasmodium falciparum Pyridoxal Synthase

ChemMedChem. 2023 Jan 3;18(1):e202200411. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.202200411. Epub 2022 Nov 8.


A series of 22 different 3,5-diarylidenetetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-ones (DATPs) were synthesized, characterized, and screened for their in vitro antiplasmodial activities against chloroquine (CQ)-sensitive Pf3D7, CQ-resistant PfINDO, and artemisinin-resistant PfMRA-1240 strains of Plasmodium falciparum. DATP 19 (3,5-bis(4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxybenzylidene)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-one) was found to be the most potent (IC50 1.07 μM) against PfMRA-1240, whereas 21 (3,5-bis(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzylidene)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-one) showed IC50 values of 1.72 and 1.44 μM against Pf3D7 and PfINDO, respectively. Resistance indices (RI) as low as 0.2 to 0.5 for 10 (3,5-bis(4-nitrobenzylidene)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-one) and 20 (3,5-bis(3-nitrobenzylidene)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-one), and <1 for most other DATPs reveals their greater potency against resistant strains than the sensitive one. The single-crystal XRD data for DATP 21 are reported. In silico support was obtained through docking studies. Killing all three strains within 4-8 h, these DATPs showed rapid kill kinetics toward the trophozoite stage. Furthermore, DATP 18 (3,5-bis(quinolin-4-ylmethylene)tetrahydro-2H-pyran-4(3H)-one) inhibited PfPdx1 enzyme activity with IC50 20.34 μM, which is about twofold lower than that (IC50 43 μM) for an already known inhibitor 4PEHz. At an oral dose of 300 mg/kg body weight, DATPs 19 and 21 were found to be nontoxic to mice, and at 100 mg/kg body weight, DATP 19 was found to suppress parasitaemia, which led to an increase in median survival time by three days relative to untreated control mice in a malaria curative study.

Keywords: Antiplasmodial activity; In silico docking; Mammalian cell cytotoxicity; Plasmodium falciparum; Synthesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials* / chemistry
  • Antimalarials* / pharmacology
  • Body Weight
  • Chloroquine / chemistry
  • Malaria*
  • Mice
  • Plasmodium falciparum


  • Antimalarials
  • Chloroquine