[EZ-Cytox] Development and optimization of halogenated vinyl sulfones as Nrf2 activators for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

2022.01.28 09:22 443 1



A series of halogenated vinyl sulfones were designed and synthesized as Nrf2 activators.

Compound 9d showed potent ability to activate Nrf2 and induce expression of the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant enzyme genes.

Compound 9d alleviated LPS-stimulated inflammation by reducing the expression of inflammatory mediators in microglial cells.

Compound 9d attenuated loss of dopaminergic neurons and motor dysfunction in MPTP-induced PD mouse model.


The Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1)-Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in the cellular defense system against oxidative stress by inducing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. We previously developed Nrf2 activators that potentially protect the death of dopaminergic (DAergic) neuronal cells against oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this study, we designed and synthesized a class of halogenated vinyl sulfones by inserting halogens and pyridine to maximize Nrf2 activation efficacy. Among the synthesized compounds, (E)-3-chloro-2-(2-((2-chlorophenyl)sulfonyl)vinyl)pyridine (9d) significantly exhibited potent Nrf2 activating efficacy (9d: EC50 = 26 nM) at least 10-fold compared with the previous developed compounds (1 and 2). Furthermore, treating with 9d remarkably increased Nrf2 nuclear translocation and Nrf2 protein levels in microglial BV-2 cells. 9d was shown to induce the expression of antioxidant response genes HO-1, GCLC, GCLM, and SOD-1 at both the mRNA and protein levels and suppress proinflammatory cytokines and enzymes. Also, 9d remarkably protected DAergic neurons and restored the PD-associated motor dysfunction in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced mouse model.

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