Activity of bisphosphonates against Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense

Michael B. Martin, Agnieszka Burzynska, Pawel Kafarski, Simon L. Croft, Eric Oldfield, John M. Sanders, Howard Kendrick, Kate De Luca-Fradley, Jared C. Lewis, Joshua S. Grimley, Erin M. Van Brussel, Jeffrey R. Olsen, Gary A. Meints

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the results of a comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA) investigation of the growth inhibition of the bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense trypomastigotes by bisphosphonates. A quantitative three-dimensional structure-activity relationship CoMFA model for a set of 26 bisphosphonates having a range of activity spanning ∼3 orders of magnitude (minimum IC50 = 220 nM; maximum IC50 = 102 μM) yielded an R2 value of 0.87 with a cross-validated R2 value of 0.79. The predictive utility of this approach was tested for three sets of three compounds: the average pIC50 error was 0.23. For the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates, in general, the activity was aromatic- ≫ aliphatic-containing side chains. The activity of aromatic species lacking an alkyl ring substitution decreased from ortho to meta to para substitution; halogen substitutions also reduced activity. For the aliphatic bisphosphonates, the IC50 values decreased nearly monotonically with increasing chain length (down to IC50 = 2.0 μM for the n-C11 alkyl side chain species). We also show, using a "rescue" experiment, that the molecular target of the nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate, risedronate, in T. b. rhodesiense is the enzyme farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase. In addition, we report the LD50 values of bisphosphonates in a mammalian cell general toxicity screen and present a comparison between the therapeutic indices and the IC50 values in the T. b. rhodesiense growth inhibition assay. Several bisphosphonates were found to have large therapeutic indices (≳ 200:1) as well as low IC50 values, suggesting their further investigation as antiparasitic agents against T. b. rhodesiense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2904-2914
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 4 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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