Bioisosteric ferrocenyl aminoquinoline-benzimidazole hybrids: Antimicrobial evaluation and mechanistic insights

N. Baartzes, T. Stringer, R. Seldon, D.F. Warner, D. Taylor, S. Wittlin, K. Chibale, G. S. Smith

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Phenyl- and bioisosteric ferrocenyl-derived aminoquinoline-benzimidazole hybrid compounds were synthesised and evaluated for their in vitro antiplasmodial activity against the chloroquine-sensitive NF54 and multi-drug resistant K1 strains of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. All compounds were active against the two strains, generally showing enhanced activity in the K1 strain, with resistance indices less than 1. Cytotoxicity studies using Chinese hamster ovarian cells revealed that the hybrids were relatively non-cytotoxic and demonstrated selective killing of the parasite. Based on favourable in vitro antiplasmodial and cytotoxicity data, the most active phenyl (4c) and ferrocenyl (5b) hybrids were tested in vivo against the rodent Plasmodium berghei mouse model. Both compounds caused a reduction in parasitemia relative to the control, with 5c displaying superior activity (92% reduction in parasitemia at 4 × 50 mg/kg oral doses). The most active phenyl and ferrocenyl derivatives showed inhibition of β-haematin formation in a NP-40 detergent-mediated assay, indicating a possible contributing mechanism of antiplasmodial action. The most active ferrocenyl hybrid did not display appreciable reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in a ROS-induced DNA cleavage gel electrophoresis study. The compounds were also screened for their in vitro activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The hybrids containing a more hydrophobic substituent had enhanced activity (<32.7 μM) compared to those with a less hydrophobic substituent (>62.5 μM).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-133
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Early online date26 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019

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