Newly designed pyrrolo[2,1-c][1,4]benzodiazepines tricyclic skeleton has shown potential clusters of cannabinoid receptors CB1/CB2 selective ligands. CB2 plays a critical role in microglial-derived neuroinflammation, where it modulates cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation into M1 or M2 phenotypes. Beginning with computer-based docking studies accounting the recently discovered X-ray crystal structure of CB2, we designed a series of PBD analogs as potential ligands of CB2 and tested their binding affinities. Interestingly, computational studies and theoretical binding affinities of several selected (S,E)-11-[2-(arylmethylene)hydrazono]-PBD analogs, have revealed the presence of potential selectivity in binding attraction toward CB1 and CB2. Reported here is the discovery of the first representatives of this series of selective binding to CB2. Preliminary data showed that this class of molecules display potential binding efficacy toward the cannabinoid receptors tested. Intriguingly, initial cannabinoid binding assay showed a selective binding affinity of 4g and 4h showed Ki of 0.49 and 4.7 μM toward CB2 receptors while no binding was observed to CB1. The designed leads have shown remarkable stability pattern at the physiological pH magnifying their therapeutic values. We hypothesize that the PBD tricyclic structure offers the molecule an appropriate three-dimensional conformation to fit snugly within the active site of CB2 receptors, giving them superiority over the reported CB2 agonists/inverse agonists. Our findings suggested that the attachment of heterocyclic ring through the condensation of diazepine hydrazone and S- or N-heterocyclic aldehydes enhances the selectivity of CB2 over CB1.
By David Mingle, Meirambek Ospanov, Mohamed O. Radwan, Nicole Ashpole, Masami Otsuka, Samir A. Ross, Larry A. Walker, Abbas G. Shilabin & Mohamed A. Ibrahim