8-Hydroxyquinolylnitrones as multifunctional ligands for the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases

Acta Pharm Sin B. 2023 May;13(5):2152-2175. doi: 10.1016/j.apsb.2023.01.013. Epub 2023 Jan 19.


We describe the development of quinolylnitrones (QNs) as multifunctional ligands inhibiting cholinesterases (ChEs: acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase-hBChE) and monoamine oxidases (hMAO-A/B) for the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases. We identified QN 19, a simple, low molecular weight nitrone, that is readily synthesized from commercially available 8-hydroxyquinoline-2-carbaldehyde. Quinolylnitrone 19 has no typical pharmacophoric element to suggest ChE or MAO inhibition, yet unexpectedly showed potent inhibition of hBChE (IC50 = 1.06 ± 0.31 nmol/L) and hMAO-B (IC50 = 4.46 ± 0.18 μmol/L). The crystal structures of 19 with hBChE and hMAO-B provided the structural basis for potent binding, which was further studied by enzyme kinetics. Compound 19 acted as a free radical scavenger and biometal chelator, crossed the blood-brain barrier, was not cytotoxic, and showed neuroprotective properties in a 6-hydroxydopamine cell model of Parkinson's disease. In addition, in vivo studies showed the anti-amnesic effect of 19 in the scopolamine-induced mouse model of AD without adverse effects on motoric function and coordination. Importantly, chronic treatment of double transgenic APPswe-PS1δE9 mice with 19 reduced amyloid plaque load in the hippocampus and cortex of female mice, underscoring the disease-modifying effect of QN 19.

Keywords: 6-Hydroxydopamine model; Alzheimer's disease; Butyrylcholinesterase; Monoamine oxidase B; Multifunctional ligands; Novel object recognition; Passive avoidance task; Quinolylnitrone.