Design, synthesis and anti-inflammatory activity of imidazol-5-yl pyridine derivatives as p38α/MAPK14 inhibitor

Eslam M.H Ali, Mohammed S. Abdel-Maksoud, Rasha Mohamed Hassan, Karim I. Mersal, Usama M. Ammar, Choi Se-In, Han He-Soo, Hee-Kwon Kim, Anna Lee, Kyung-Tae Lee, Chang-Hyun Oh

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P38α/MAPK14 is intracellular signalling regulator involved in biosynthesis of inflammatory mediator cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1, IL-6, and IL-1b), which induce the production of inflammatory proteins (iNOS, NF-kB, and COX-2). In this study, drug repurposing strategies were followed to repositioning of a series of B-RAF V600E imidazol-5-yl pyridine inhibitors to inhibit P38α kinase. A group 25 reported P38α kinase inhibitors were used to build a pharmacophore model for mapping the target compounds and proving their affinity for binding in P38α active site. Target compounds were evaluated for their potency against P38α kinase, compounds 11a and 11d were the most potent inhibitors (IC50 = 47 nM and 45 nM, respectively).

In addition, compound 11d effectively inhibited the production of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, 1L-6, and 1L-1β in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages with IC50 values of 78.03 nM, 17.6 µM and 82.15 nM, respectively.

The target compounds were tested for their anti-inflammatory activity by detecting the reduction of Nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin (PGE2) production in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Compound 11d exhibited satisfied inhibitory activity of the production of PGE2 and NO with IC50 values of 0.29 µM and 0.61 µM, respectively. Molecular dynamics simulations of the most potent inhibitor 11d were carried out to illustrate its conformational stability in the binding site of P38α kinase.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115969
Number of pages21
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Early online date28 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • P38α
  • anti- inflammatory
  • pharmacophore
  • TNF-α
  • 1L-6
  • 1L-1β Nitric Oxide
  • PGE2


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