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Recent Developments of p38α MAP Kinase Inhibitors as Antiinflammatory Agents Based on the Imidazole Scaffolds

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other chronic inflammatory diseases are always the major therapeutic challenges. Recent research efforts provided new insights into the molecular basis of these diseases and new opportunities for developing improved anti-inflammatory drugs. The p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase plays a central role in the regulation of the biosynthesis and release of several proinflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). Hence, inhibition of the p38 MAP kinase is regarded as a promising therapeutic strategy for controlling inflammatory diseases. A diverse range of p38α MAP kinase inhibitors have been developed as potential anti-inflammatory agents, and some of them have entered the phase II clinical trials. The imidazole derivatives are known as competitive inhibitors at the ATP binding site of the p38α MAP kinase. Modifications on the imidazole scaffold have led to a large amount of potent p38α MAP kinase inhibitors. This review will summarize the developments of small molecule p38α MAP kinase inhibitors based on the imidazole core scaffolds in recent 10 years. Variations at the N1, C2, C4 and C5 positions of imidazole were introduced, and the structure-activity relationships of these imidazole inhibitors were also discussed.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; p38α MAP kinase; p38α MAP kinase inhibitors; rheumatoid arthritis; tetrasubstituted imidazoles; thioimidazoles; trisubstituted imidazoles

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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