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Optimization of endochin-like quinolones for antimalarial activity

Winter, Rolf, Kelly, Jane X., Smilkstein, Martin J., Hinrichs, David, Koop, Dennis R., Riscoe, Michael K.
Experimental parasitology 2011 v.127 no.2 pp. 545-551
Plasmodium falciparum, humans, multiple drug resistance, models, microsomes, mice, polyethylene glycol, structure-activity relationships, parasitology, rats, malaria, oral administration, quinolones, antimalarials
Our prior work on tricyclic acridones combined with a desire to minimize the tricyclic system led to an interest in antimalarial quinolones and a reexamination of endochin, an experimental antimalarial from the 1940’s. In the present article, we show that endochin is unstable in the presence of murine, rat, and human microsomes which may explain its relatively poor antimalarial activity in mammalian systems. We also profile the structure–activity relationships of ≈30 endochin-like quinolone (ELQ) analogs and highlight features that are associated with enhanced metabolic stability, potent antiplasmodial activity against multidrug resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum, and equal activity against an atovaquone-resistant clinical isolate. Our work also features an ELQ construct containing a polyethylene glycol carbonate pro-moiety that is highly efficacious by oral administration in a murine malaria model. These findings provide compelling evidence that development of ELQ therapeutics is feasible.