Investigating the structure-activity relationships of N '-[(5-nitrofuran-2-yl) methylene] substituted hydrazides against Trypanosoma cruzi to design novel active compounds

Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is a neglected chronic tropical infection endemic in Latin America. New and effective treatments are urgently needed because the two available drugs - benznidazole (BZD) and nifurtimox (NFX) - have limited curative power in the chronic phase of the disease. We have previously reported the design and synthesis of N'-[(5-nitrofuran-2-yl) methylene] substituted hydrazides that showed high trypanocidal activity against axenic epimastigote forms of three T cruzi strains. Here we show that these compounds are also active against a BZD- and NFX-resistant strain. Herein, multivariate approaches (hierarchical cluster analysis and principal component analysis) were applied to a set of thirty-six formerly characterized compounds. Based on the findings from exploratory data analysis, novel compounds were designed and synthesized. These compounds showed two-to three-fold higher trypanocidal activity against epimastigote forms than the previous set and were 25-30-fold more active than BZD. Their activity was also evaluated against intracellular amastigotes by high content screening (HCS). The most active compounds (BSF-38 to BSF-40) showed a selective index (SI') greater than 200, in contrast to the SI' values of reference drugs (NFX, 16.45; BZD, > 3), and a 70-fold greater activity than BZD. These findings indicate that nitrofuran compounds designed based on the activity against epimastigote forms show promising trypanocidal activity against intracellular amastigotes, which correspond to the predominant parasite stage in the chronic phase of Chagas disease.
Keywords
Nitrofurans;  Trypanosoma cruzi;  Amastigote intracellular forms;  Exploratory data analysis;  Chemometric approaches;  Chagas disease;  Structure-activity relationships

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Palace-Berl F, Pasqualoto KFM, Zingales B, Moraes CB, Bury M, Franco CH, et al. Investigating the structure-activity relationships of N '-[(5-nitrofuran-2-yl) methylene] substituted hydrazides against Trypanosoma cruzi to design novel active compounds. Eur. J. Med. Chem.. 2018 Jan;144:29-40. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2017.12.011.
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