The aqueous extract of Scutellariae baicalensis Georgi has inhibitory activity against P-gp 170, a multiple drug resistant gene product. Baicalein, one of the major flavones, was found to be responsible for this activity. The hydroxyl groups of the A ring of baicalein were systematically alkylated in order to assess the effect of such modifications on the activity against P-gp 170. The impact of the baicalein modifications on activity against the growth of a human nasopharyngeal cancer cell line KB and its P-gp 170 overexpressing cell line KB/MDR were also examined. The results indicate that alkylation of R5 of baicalein does not have a major impact on the interaction with P-gp 170, whereas alkylation of R6 or R7 alone or both, could enhance the interaction of baicalein with P-gp 170 as well as the amount of intracellular accumulation of vinblastine, a surrogate marker for the activity of P-gp 170 pump of KB/MDR cells. In this case, the optimal linear alkyl functionality is a propyl side chain. These modifications could also alter the activity of compounds inhibiting cell growth. Among the different compounds synthesized, the most potent molecule against P-gp 170 is 5-methoxy-6,7-dipropyloxyflavone (23). Its inhibitory activity against P-gp 170 is approximately 40 times better, based on EC50 (concentration of the compound enhancing 50% of the intracellular vinblastine accumulation in the KB/MDR cells) and 3 times higher, based on Amax (the intracellular vinblastine accumulation of the KB/MDR cells caused by the compound) as compared to baicalein. Compound 23 is also a more selective inhibitor than baicalein against P-gp 170, because its cytotoxicity is less than that observed for baicalein. The growth inhibitory IC50 of compound 23 against KB and KB/MDR cells are about the same, suggesting that compound 23 is unlikely to be a substrate of P-gp 170 pump. Acetylation of R6, R7 or both could also decrease EC50 and increase Amax. Acetylated compounds are more toxic than baicalein, and their potency against cell growth is compromised by the presence of P-gp 170, suggesting that these compounds are substrates of P-gp 170. Benzylation of R6 or R7 but not both also enhanced anti-P-gp170 activity and potency against cell growth; however, the presence of P-gp 170 in cells did not have an impact on their sensitivity to these molecules, suggesting that the benzylated compounds are inhibitors but not substrates of P-gp 170, and perhaps have a different mechanism of action. In conclusion, the substitutions of R6 and R7 hydroxyl groups by alkoxy groups, acetoxy groups, or benzyloxy groups could yield compounds with different modes of action against P-gp 170 with different mechanisms of action against cell growth.
J. Med. Chem. (Journal of medicinal chemistry)
Cited: 17 times