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Chemical Modification of Glycyrrhizic Acid As A Route to New Bioactive Compounds for Medicine

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Glycyrrhizic Acid (GL) is the major bioactive triterpene glycoside of licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Radix) extracts possessing a wide range of pharmacological properties (anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antiallergic, anti-dote, anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-viral etc.). Official sources of GL are Glycyrrhiza glabra L. and Gl. uralensis Fish. (Leguminosae). The content of GL in licorice root is 2-24% of the dry weight. GL is one of the leading natural compounds for clinical trials of chronic active viral hepatitis and HIV infections (preparation Stronger Neo-Minophagen C, SNMC), and its monoammonium salt (glycyram, tussilinar) is used as an antiinflammatory and anti-allergic remedy.

The synthetic transformations of GL on carboxyl and hydroxyl groups were carried out to produce new bioactive derivatives for medicine. GL esters were produced containing fragments of bioactive acids (4- nitrobenzoic, cinnamic, salycilic, acetylsalycilic, nicotinic, isonicotinic). Bioactive amides of GL were synthesized using chloroanhydride technique and N,N'-diciclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) method. The synthesis of acylthioureids and -semicarbazones was carried out via the reaction of triacylisothiocianate of penta-O-acetyl-GL with primary amines and hydrazines. The chain of transformations of trichloranhydride of penta-O-acetyl-GL was made with the introduction of diazoketone groups in the molecule.

A new group of GL derivatives to be triterpene glycopeptides was prepared by the activated esters method (Nhydrohysuccinimide- DCC or N-hydroxybenzotriazol-DCC) using alkyl (methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl, tertbutyl) or benzyl (4-nitrobenzyl) esters of amino acids. The glycyrrhizyl analogs of the known immunostimulator, N-acetyl-muramoyldipeptide (MDP), were synthesized using Reagent Woodward K.

A series of ureids and carbamates of GL was synthesized containing 5-amino-5-desoxy-D-xylopyranose units. The synthesis of 4-nitro-4-desoxy-glycosides, modified analogs of GL, was carried out by the oxidative splitting of the carbohydrate part of GL with NaIO4. Triterpene 2-desoxy--D-glycosides, analogs of GL, were prepared by the glycal method in the presence of iodine-containing promoters or sulfonic acid cation-exchange resin KU-2-8 (H+) and LiBr. New anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer agents were found among GL derivatives such as esters, amides, ureids, carbamates, thioureids and glycopeptides. GL glycopeptides are of interest as immunomodulators. Some of the chemically modified GL derivatives (salts, amides, glycopeptides) were potent HIV-1 and HIV-2 inhibitors in vitro. Preparation niglizin (penta-O-nicotinate of GL) was studied clinically as an anti-inflammatory agent and is of interest for studies as hepatoprotector and HIV inhibitor.

Keywords: Glycyrrhizic Acid; acetylsalycilic; carbamates; cinnamic; isonicotinic; nicotinic; nitrobenzoic; salycilic; thioureids; triterpene glycoside

Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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