- Windsor MA, Hermanson DJ, Kingsley PJ, Xu S, Crews BC, Ho W, Keenan CM, Banerjee S, Sharkey KA, Marnett LJ. Substrate-Selective Inhibition of Cyclooxygenase-2: Development and Evaluation of Achiral Profen Probes. ACS medicinal chemistry letters. 2012 Sep 13;3(9). 759-763. PMID: 22984634 [PubMed]. PMCID: PMC3441040.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) oxygenates arachidonic acid and the endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA). We recently reported that (R)-profens selectively inhibit endocannabinoid oxygenation but not arachidonic acid oxygenation. In this work, we synthesized achiral derivatives of five profen scaffolds and evaluated them for substrate-selective inhibition using in vitro and cellular assays. The size of the substituents dictated the inhibitory strength of the analogs, with smaller substituents enabling greater potency but less selectivity. Inhibitors based on the flurbiprofen scaffold possessed the greatest potency and selectivity, with desmethylflurbiprofen (3a) exhibiting an IC(50) of 0.11 μM for inhibition of 2-AG oxygenation. The crystal structure of desmethylflurbiprofen complexed to mCOX-2 demonstrated a similar binding mode to other profens. Desmethylflurbiprofen exhibited a half-life in mice comparable to that of ibuprofen. The data presented suggest that achiral profens can act as lead molecules toward in vivo probes of substrate-selective COX-2 inhibition.