Optimization of an essentially inactive 3,4-dihydro-2H-pyrano[3,2-c] quinoline carboxylic ester derivative as acetylcholinesterase (AChE) peripheral anionic site (PAS)-binding motif by double O → NH bioisosteric replacement, combined with molecular hybridization with the AChE catalytic anionic site (CAS) inhibitor 6-chlorotacrine and molecular dynamics-driven optimization of the length of the linker has resulted in the development of the trimethylene-linked 1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzo[h][1,6]naphthyridine-6-chlorotacrine hybrid 5a as a picomolar inhibitor of human AChE (hAChE). The tetra-, penta-, and octamethylene-linked homologues 5b-d have been also synthesized for comparison purposes, and found to retain the nanomolar hAChE inhibitory potency of the parent 6-chlorotacrine. Further biological profiling of hybrids 5a-d has shown that they are also potent inhibitors of human butyrylcholinesterase and moderately potent Aβ42 and tau anti-aggregating agents, with IC 50 values in the submicromolar and low micromolar range, respectively. Also, in vitro studies using an artificial membrane model have predicted a good brain permeability for hybrids 5a-d, and hence, their ability to reach their targets in the central nervous system. The multitarget profile of the novel hybrids makes them promising leads for developing anti-Alzheimer drug candidates with more balanced biological activities. © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
- Aβ aggregation inhibitors
- Dual binding site AChE inhibitors
- Multitarget compounds
- Tau aggregation inhibitors