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1.  Optimized Inhibitors of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Improve in Vitro Target Residence Time and in Vivo Efficacy 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(16):7016-7030.
Diabetes is affecting the life of millions of people. A large proportion of diabetic patients suffer from severe complications such as neuropathic pain, and current treatments for these complications have deleterious side effects. Thus, alternate therapeutic strategies are needed. Recently, the elevation of epoxy-fatty acids through inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) was shown to reduce diabetic neuropathic pain in rodents. In this report, we describe a series of newly synthesized sEH inhibitors with at least 5-fold higher potency and doubled residence time inside both the human and rodent sEH enzyme than previously reported inhibitors. These inhibitors also have better physical properties and optimized pharmacokinetic profiles. The optimized inhibitor selected from this new series displayed improved efficacy of almost 10-fold in relieving pain perception in diabetic neuropathic rats as compared to the approved drug, gabapentin, and previously published sEH inhibitors. Therefore, these new sEH inhibitors could be an attractive alternative to treat diabetic neuropathy in humans.
PMCID: PMC4148150  PMID: 25079952
2.  Discovery of Inhibitors of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase: A Target with Multiple Potential Therapeutic Indications 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(5):1789-1808.
PMCID: PMC3420824  PMID: 22168898
cardiovascular diseases; diabetes; DHET; dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids; EET; EPHX2; epoxyeicosatrienoic acid; hypertension; metabolic syndromes; pain; soluble epoxide hydrolase; sEH; sEH inhibitors
3.  Structure activity relationships of cycloalkylamide derivatives as inhibitors of the soluble epoxide hydrolase 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(6):1752-1761.
Structure activity relationships of cycloalkylamide compounds as inhibitors of human sEH were investigated. When the left side of amide function was modified by a variety of cycloalkanes, at least a C6 like cyclohexane was necessary to yield reasonable inhibition potency on the target enzyme. In compounds with a smaller cycloalkane or with a polar group on the left side of amide function, no inhibition was observed. On the other hand, increased hydrophobicity dramatically improved inhibition potency. Especially, a tetrahydronaphthalene (20) effectively increased the potency. When a series of alkyl or aryl derivatives of cycloalkylamide were investigated to continuously optimize the right side of the amide pharmacophore, a benzyl moiety functionalized with a polar group produced highly potent inhibition. Non-substituted benzyl, alkyl, aryl, or biaryl structure present in the right side of cycloalkylamide function induced a big decrease in inhibition potency. Also, a resulting potent cycloalkylamide (32) showed reasonable physical properties.
PMCID: PMC3517215  PMID: 21338111
4.  Incorporation of piperazino functionality into 1,3-disubstituted urea as the tertiary pharmacophore affording potent inhibitors of soluble epoxide hydrolase with improved pharmacokinetic properties 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(23):8376-8386.
The inhibition of the mammalian soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is a promising new therapy in the treatment of hypertension, inflammation and other disorders. However, the problems of limited water solubility, high melting point and low metabolic stability complicated the development of 1,3-disubstituted urea-based sEH inhibitors. The current study explored the introduction of the substituted piperazino group as the tertiary pharmacophore, which resulted in substantial improvements in pharmacokinetic parameters over previously reported 1-adamantyl-urea based inhibitors while retaining high potency. The SAR studies revealed that the meta- or para-substituted phenyl spacer, and N4-acetyl or sulfonyl substituted piperazine were optimal structures for achieving high potency and good physical properties. The 1-(4-(4-(4-acetylpiperazin-1-yl)butoxy)phenyl)-3-adamantan-1-yl urea (29c) demonstrated excellent in vivo pharmacokinetic properties in mice: T1/2 =14 h, Cmax = 84 nM and AUC = 40200 nM • min with an IC50 value of 7.0 nM against human sEH enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3070159  PMID: 21070033
5.  Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationship Studies of Urea-Containing Pyrazoles as Dual Inhibitors of Cyclooxygenase-2 and Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2011;54(8):3037-3050.
A series of dual inhibitors containing a 1,5-diarylpyrazole and a urea were designed, synthesized, and evaluated as novel COX-2/sEH dual inhibitors in vitro using recombinant enzyme assays and in vivo using a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced model of pain in rats. The best inhibition potencies and selectivity for sEH and COX-2 over COX-1 were obtained with compounds (21b, 21i and 21j) in which both the 1,5-diaryl-pyrazole group and the urea group are linked with a three-methylene group. Compound 21i showed the best pharmacokinetic profiles in both mice and rats (higher AUC and longer half-life). Following subcutaneous administration at 10 mg/kg, compound 21i exhibited anti-allodynic activity that is more effective than the same dose of either a COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) or a sEH inhibitor (t-AUCB) alone, as well as co-administration of both inhibitors. Thus, these novel dual inhibitors exhibited enhanced in vivo anti-allodynic activity in a nociceptive behavioral assay.
PMCID: PMC3281519  PMID: 21434686
6.  1-Aryl-3-(1-acylpiperidin-4-yl)urea Inhibitors of Human and Murine Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase: Structure-Activity Relationships, Pharmacokinetics and Reduction of Inflammatory Pain 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2010;53(19):7067-7075.
A series of 1,3-disubstituted ureas possessing a piperidyl moiety has been synthesized to investigate their structure-activity relationships as inhibitors of the human and murine soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Oral administration of thirteen 1-aryl-3-(1-acylpiperidin-4-yl)urea inhibitors in mice revealed substantial improvements in pharmacokinetic parameters over previously reported 1-adamantyl-urea based inhibitors. For example, 1-(1-(cyclopropanecarbonyl)piperidin-4-yl)-3-(4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenyl)urea (52) showed a 7-fold increase in potency, a 65-fold increase in Cmax† and a 3300 fold increase in AUC over its adamantane analogue 1-(1-adamantyl)-3-(1-propionylpiperidin-4-yl)urea (2). This novel sEH inhibitor showed a 1000 fold increase in potency when compared to morphine by reducing hyperalgesia as measured by mechanical withdrawl threshold using the in vivo carrageenan induced inflammatory pain model.
PMCID: PMC3285450  PMID: 20812725
7.  14,15-Epoxyeicosa-5,8,11-trienoic acid (14,15-EET) Surrogates Containing Epoxide Bioisosteres: Influence upon Vascular Relaxation and Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibition 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(16):5069-5075.
All-cis-14,15-epoxyeicosa-5,8,11-trienoic acid (14,15-EET) is a labile, vasodilatory eicosanoid generated from arachidonic acid by cytochrome P450 epoxygenases. A series of robust, partially saturated analogs containing epoxide bioisosteres were synthesized and evaluated for relaxation of precontracted bovine coronary artery rings and for in vitro inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Depending upon the bioisostere and its position along the carbon chain, varying levels of vascular relaxation and/or sEH inhibition were observed. For example, oxamide 16 and N-iPr-amide 20 were comparable (ED50 1.7 μM) to 14,15-EET as vasorelaxants, but were approx. 10–35 times less potent as sEH inhibitors (IC50 59 and 19 μM, respectively); unsubstituted urea 12 showed useful activity in both assays (ED50 3.5 μM, IC50 16 nM). These data reveal differential structural parameters for the two pharmacophores that could assist the development of potent and specific in vivo drug candidates.
PMCID: PMC2888647  PMID: 19653681
8.  Orally Bioavailable Potent Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(16):3825-3840.
A series of N,N′-disubstituted ureas having a conformationally restricted cis- or trans-1,4-cyclohexane α to the urea were prepared and tested as soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitors. This series of compounds showed low nanomolar to picomolar activities against recombinant human sEH. Both isomers showed similar potencies, but the trans isomers were more metabolically stable in human hepatic microsomes. Furthermore, these new potent inhibitors show a greater metabolic stability in vivo than previously described sEH inhibitors. We demonstrated that trans-4-[4-(3-adamantan-1-ylureido)cyclohexyloxy]benzoic acid 13g (t-AUCB, IC50 = 1.3 ± 0.05 nM) had excellent oral bioavailability (98%, n = 2) and blood area under the curve in dogs and was effective in vivo to treat hypotension in lipopolysaccharide challenged murine models.
PMCID: PMC2596069  PMID: 17616115
9.  1,3-Disubstituted Ureas Functionalized with Ether Groups are Potent Inhibitors of the Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase with Improved Pharmacokinetic Properties 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(21):5217-5226.
Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) is a therapeutic target for treating hypertension and inflammation. 1,3-Disubstituted ureas functionalized with an ether group are potent sEH inhibitors. However, their relatively low metabolic stability leads to poor pharmacokinetic properties. To improve their bioavailability, we investigated the effect of incorporating various polar groups on the ether function on the inhibition potencies, physical properties, in vitro metabolic stability, and pharmacokinetic properties. The structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies showed that a hydrophobic linker between the urea group and the ether function is necessary to keep their potency. In addition, urea-ether inhibitors having a polar group such as diethylene glycol or morpholine significantly improved their physical properties and metabolic stability without any loss of inhibitory potency. Furthermore, improved pharmacokinetic properties in murine and canine models were obtained with the resulting inhibitors. These findings will facilitate the usage of sEH inhibitors in animal models of hypertension and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2543935  PMID: 17894481
10.  Optimization of Amide-Based Inhibitors of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase with Improved Water Solubility 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2005;48(10):3621-3629.
Soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) plays an important role in the metabolism of endogenous chemical mediators involved in the regulation of blood pressure and inflammation. 1,3-Disubstituted ureas with a polar group located on the fifth atom from the carbonyl group of urea function are active inhibitors of sEH both in vitro and in vivo. However, their limited solubility in water and relatively high melting point lead to difficulties in formulating the compounds and poor in vivo efficacy. To improve these physical properties, the effect of structural modification of the urea pharmacophore on the inhibition potencies, water solubilities, octanol/water partition coefficients (log P), and melting points of a series of compounds was evaluated. For murine sEH, no loss of inhibition potency was observed when the urea pharmacophore was modified to an amide function, while for human sEH 2.5-fold decreased inhibition was obtained in the amide compounds. In addition, a NH group on the right side of carbonyl group of the amide pharmacophore substituted with an adamantyl group (such as compound 14) and a methylene carbon present between the adamantyl and amide groups were essential to produce potent inhibition of sEH. The resulting amide inhibitors have 10–30-fold better solubility and lower melting point than the corresponding urea compounds. These findings will facilitate synthesis of sEH inhibitors that are easier to formulate and more bioavailable.
PMCID: PMC1450255  PMID: 15887969

Results 1-10 (10)