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Design, synthesis, and anticancer activity of novel berberine derivatives prepared via CuAAC “click” chemistry as potential anticancer agents

Authors Jin X, Yan TH, Yan L, Li Q, Wang RL, Hu ZL, Jiang YY, Sun QY, Cao YB

Received 27 February 2014

Accepted for publication 23 April 2014

Published 6 August 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 1047—1059

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S63228

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Xin Jin1,2,* Tian-Hua Yan,3,* Lan Yan,1 Qian Li,4 Rui-Lian Wang,1 Zhen-Lin Hu,1 Yuan-Ying Jiang,1 Qing-Yan Sun,1 Yong-Bing Cao1

1School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China; 2School of Pharmacy, FuJian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, People's Republic of China; 3Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China; 4Diakite Biological Technology Co., Ltd, Shanghai, People's Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: A series of novel derivatives of phenyl-substituted berberine triazolyls has been designed and synthesized via copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition click chemistry in an attempt to develop antitumor agents. All of the compounds were evaluated for anticancer activity against a panel of three human cancer cell lines, including MCF-7 (breast), SW-1990 (pancreatic), and SMMC-7721 (liver) and the noncancerous human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) cell lines. The results indicated that most of the compounds displayed notable anticancer activities against the MCF-7 cells compared with berberine. Among these derivatives, compound 16 showed the most potent inhibitory activity against the SW-1990 and SMMC-7721 cell lines, with half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 8.54±1.97 µM and 11.87±1.83 µM, respectively. Compound 36 exhibited the most potent inhibitory activity against the MCF-7 cell line, with an IC50 value of 12.57±1.96 µM. Compound 16 and compound 36 exhibited low cytotoxicity in the HUVEC cell line, with IC50 values of 25.49±3.24 µM and 30.47±3.47 µM. Furthermore, compounds 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 32, and 36 exhibited much better selectivity than berberine toward the normal cell line HUVEC.

Keywords: berberine, anticancer, click chemistry, structure–activity relationship

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