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Papers: 21 Jan 2023 - 3 Feb 2023

2023 Jan 19

Eur J Med Chem


Development of novel pyrazole, imidazo[1,2-b]pyrazole, and pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine derivatives as a new class of COX-2 inhibitors with immunomodulatory potential.


Searching for new compounds with anti-inflammatory properties is a significant target since inflammation is a major cause of pain. A series of pyrazole, imidazopyrazolone, and pyrazolopyrimidine derivatives were designed and synthesized by reaction of 3,5-diamino-1H-pyrazole derivative with cyclic and acyclic carbonyl reagents. The structure of the newly synthesized derivatives were fully characterized using different spectroscopic data and elemental analysis, and therefore, evaluated as COX-2 inhibitors. The in vitro COX-2 activity of the tested derivatives 2-13 displayed moderate to good potency with two derivatives 8 and 13 that exhibiting high potency to COX-2 with IC values of 5.68 ± 0.08 and 3.37 ± 0.07 μM compared with celecoxib (IC = 3.60 ± 0.07 μM) and meloxicam (IC = 7.58 ± 0.13 μM). Furthermore, the most active pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine derivatives 8 and 13 were evaluated to measure the levels of pro-inflammatory proteins such as TNF-α and IL-6 using qRT-PCR in RAW264.7 cells, and the results showed down-regulation of two immunomodulatory proteins. Surprisingly, these derivatives 8 and 13 revealed a decrease in IL-6 level with inhibition percentages of 65.8 and 70.3%, respectively, compared with celecoxib (% = 76.8). Further, compounds 8 and 13 can regulate and suppress the TNF-α with percentage inhibition of 63.1 and 59.2% to controls, while celecoxib displayed an inhibition percentage of 72.7. The Quantum chemical calculation was conducted, and data explained the structural features crucial to the activity. The molecular docking simulation and ADMET predictions revealed that the most active derivatives have good binding affinity, possess appropriate drug-likeness properties and low toxicity profiles. Finally, compounds 8 and 13 demonstrated COX-2 inhibitors with α-TNF and IL-6 suppression capabilities as a dual-action strategy to get more effective treatment.