4,5-Di-substituted benzyl-imidazol-2-substituted amines as the structure template for the design and synthesis of reversal agents against P-gp-mediated multidrug resistance breast cancer cells

Nan Zhang, Zhaohui Zhang, Iris L.K. Wong, Shengbiao Wan, Ming Cheung Chow, Tao Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Over-expression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a primary multidrug transporter which is located in plasma membranes, plays a major role in the multidrug resistance (MDR) of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Naamidines are a class of marine imidazole alkaloids isolated from Leucetta and Clathrina sponges, possessing a Y-shaped scaffold. Based on the results previously obtained from the third-generation MDR modulator ONT-093 and other modulators developed in our group, we designed and synthesized a series of novel 4,5-di-substituted benzyl-1-methyl-1H-imidazol-2-substituted amines using the Naamidine scaffold as the structure template. Subsequently, their reversing activity for Taxol resistance has been evaluated in P-gp-mediated multidrug resistance breast cancer cell line MDA435/LCC6MDR. Compounds 12c with a Y-shaped scaffold, and compound 17c which is 'X-shaped' scaffold and possesses a 4-diethylamino group at aryl ring B, turned out to be the most potent P-gp modulators. It appears that compounds 12c and 17c at 1 μM concentration can sensitize LCC6MDR cells toward Taxol by 26.4 and 24.5 folds, with an EC50212.5 and 210.5 nM, respectively. These two compounds are about 5-6 folds more potent than verapamil (RF = 4.5). Moreover, compounds 12c and 17c did not exhibit obvious cytotoxicity in either cancer cell lines or normal mouse fibroblast cell lines. This study has demonstrated that the synthetic Naamidine analogues can be potentially employed as effective, safe modulators for the P-gp-mediated drug resistance cancer cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-83
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2014


  • Marine alkaloid
  • Modulator
  • Multidrug resistance
  • Naamidine analogues
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Structure-activity relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

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