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Synthesis of Novel Aza‐aromatic Curcuminoids with Improved Biological Activities towards Various Cancer Cell Lines

  • Theppawong, Atiruj
  • Van de Walle, Tim
  • Grootaert, Charlotte
  • Bultinck, Margot
  • Desmet, Tom
  • Van Camp, John
  • D'hooghe, Matthias
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Curcumin, a natural compound extracted from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, displays pronounced anticancer properties but lacks good bioavailability and stability. In a previous study, we initiated structure modification of the curcumin scaffold by imination of the labile -diketone moiety to produce novel -enaminone derivatives. These compounds showed promising properties for elaborate follow-up studies. In this work, we focused on another class of nitrogen-containing curcuminoids with a similar objective: to address the bioavailability and stability issues and to improve the biological activity of curcumin. This paper thus reports on the synthesis of new pyridine-, indole-, and pyrrole-based curcumin analogues (aza-aromatic curcuminoids) and discusses their water solubility, antioxidant activity, and antiproliferative properties. In addition, multivariate statistics, including hierarchical clustering analysis and principal component analysis, were performed on a broad set of nitrogen-containing curcuminoids. Compared to their respective mother structures, that is, curcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin, all compounds, and especially the pyridin-3-yl -enaminone analogues, showed better water solubility profiles. Interestingly, the pyridine-, indole-, and pyrrole-based curcumin derivatives demonstrated improved biological effects in terms of mitochondrial activity impairment and protein content, in addition to comparable or decreased antioxidant properties. Overall, the biologically active N-alkyl -enaminone aza-aromatic curcuminoids were shown to offer a desirable balance between good solubility and significant bioactivity.

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