Inflammation and oxidative stress are common in many chronic diseases. Targeting signaling pathways that contribute to these conditions may have therapeutic potential. The transcription factor Nrf2 is a major regulator of phase II detoxification and anti-oxidant genes as well as anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective genes. Nrf2 is widespread in the CNS and is recognized as an important regulator of brain inflammation. The natural product curcumin exhibits numerous biological activities including ability to induce the expression of Nrf2-dependent phase II and anti-oxidant enzymes. Curcumin has been examined in a number of clinical studies with limited success, mainly owing to limited bioavailability and rapid metabolism. Enone analogues of curcumin were examined with an Nrf2 reporter assay to identify Nrf2 activators. Analogues were separated into groups with a 7-carbon dienone spacer, as found in curcumin; a 5-carbon enone spacer with and without a ring; and a 3-carbon enone spacer. Activators of Nrf2 were found in all three groups, many of which were more active than curcumin. Dose-response studies demonstrated that a range of substituents on the aromatic rings of these enones influenced not only the sensitivity to activation, reflected in EC50 values, but also the extent of activation, which suggests that multiple mechanisms are involved in the activation of Nrf2 by these analogues.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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