Design, synthesis, and molecular docking studies of N-(9,10-anthraquinone-2-carbonyl)amino acid derivatives as xanthine oxidase inhibitors

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A series of N-(9,10-anthraquinone-2-carbonyl)amino acid derivatives (1a–j) was designed and synthesized as novel xanthine oxidase inhibitors. Among them, the L/D-phenylalanine derivatives (1d and 1i) and the L/D-tryptophan derivatives (1e and 1j) were effective with micromolar level potency. In particular, the L-phenylalanine derivative 1d (IC50 = 3.0 μm) and the D-phenylalanine derivative 1i (IC50 = 2.9 μm) presented the highest potency and were both more potent than the positive control allopurinol (IC50 = 8.1 μm). Preliminary SAR analysis pointed that an aromatic amino acid fragment, for example, phenylalanine or tryptophan, was essential for the inhibition; the D-amino acid derivative presented equal or greater potency compared to its L-enantiomer; and the 9,10-anthraquinone moiety was welcome for the inhibition. Molecular simulations provided rational binding models for compounds 1d and 1i in the xanthine oxidase active pocket. As a result, compounds 1d and 1i could be promising lead compounds for further investigation.

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