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A Focus on Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1) Inhibitors

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The aim of this review is to highlight the advances in the field of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) inhibitors over the past years, particularly from a medicinal chemistry point of view; progresses made in the field strongly helped to clarify physiological roles of the heme oxygenase (HO) system. HO is a family of ubiquitously expressed enzymes which regulate the regiospecific catabolism of heme leading to the formation of equimolar amounts of carbon monoxide (CO), ferrous iron (Fe++), and biliverdin. HO exists in two distinct, catalytically active isoforms: HO-1 and HO-2. HO-1 is an inducible 32-kDa protein, while HO-2 is a constitutively synthesized 36-kDa protein and generally is unresponsive to any of the inducers of HO-1. A third isoform, HO-3, is still an elusive protein. The HO system, along with its catabolism products, is involved in a variety of crucial physiological functions, including cytoprotection, inflammation, anti-oxidative effects, apoptosis, neuro-modulation, immune-modulation, angiogenesis, and vascular regulation. The use of selective HO inhibitors is a very important tool to clarify the role of the HO system and the mechanisms underlying its physiological effects and pathological involvement; due to the inducible nature of HO-1, selective inhibition of HO-1 isoform is generally preferable. Notably, HO-1 inhibitors may be also beneficial in therapeutic applications and have been mainly studied for treatment of hyperbilirubinemia and certain types of cancer. Historically, the first molecules used as non selective HO-1 inhibitors were metalloporphyrins (Mps). The subsequent development of the imidazole-dioxolane derivatives afforded the first generation of non-porphyrin based, isozyme selective HO-1 inhibitors.

Keywords: Antitumoral; HO-1; HO-2; heme oxygenase; heme oxygenase inducers; heme oxygenase inhibitors; imidazoledioxolane derivatives; imidazoles

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-10-01

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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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