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We prepared a number of N-phenethyltetrahydroisoquinolines structurally related to protoberberines. They were tested for activity against bacteria, fungi, and human leukemia HL-60 cells and also for inhibition of biosynthesis: ergosterol in yeasts and cholesterol in human cells. In the latter assay panel, several of the compounds were distinguished by a strong and selective inhibition of 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (7-DHCR, EC 1.3.1.21), an enzyme responsible for the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to cholesterol in the last step of cholesterol biosynthesis. In a whole-cell assay, the most active compound 5f showed a much stronger inhibition of overall cholesterol biosynthesis (IC(50) 2.3 nM) than BM 15.766 (IC(50) 500 nM), presently the most selective known inhibitor of 7-DHCR. Since a defect of 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase is associated with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS), the potent and selective inhibitors reported here will enable more detailed investigation of the pathogenesis of SLOS.

Citation

Aline Horling, Christoph Müller, Richard Barthel, Franz Bracher, Peter Imming. A new class of selective and potent 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase inhibitors. Journal of medicinal chemistry. 2012 Sep 13;55(17):7614-22

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PMID: 22882119

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