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Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 8 (TRPM8) is a Ca2+ non-selective ion channel implicated in a variety of pathological conditions, including cancer, inflammatory and neuropathic pain. In previous works we identified a family of chiral, highly hydrophobic β-lactam derivatives, and began to intuit a possible effect of the stereogenic centers on the antagonist activity. To investigate the influence of configuration on the TRPM8 antagonist properties, here we prepare and characterize four possible diastereoisomeric derivatives of 4-benzyl-1-[(3'-phenyl-2'-dibenzylamino)prop-1'-yl]-4-benzyloxycarbonyl-3-methyl-2-oxoazetidine. In microfluorography assays, all isomers were able to reduce the menthol-induced cell Ca2+ entry to larger or lesser extent. Potency follows the order 3R,4R,2'R > 3S,4S,2'R ≅ 3R,4R,2'S > 3S,4S,2'S, with the most potent diastereoisomer showing a half inhibitory concentration (IC50) in the low nanomolar range, confirmed by Patch-Clamp electrophysiology experiments. All four compounds display high receptor selectivity against other members of the TRP family. Furthermore, in primary cultures of rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, the most potent diastereoisomers do not produce any alteration in neuronal excitability, indicating their high specificity for TRPM8 channels. Docking studies positioned these β-lactams at different subsites by the pore zone, suggesting a different mechanism than the known N-(3-aminopropyl)-2-[(3-methylphenyl)methoxy]-N-(2-thienylmethyl)-benzamide (AMTB) antagonist.


María Ángeles Bonache, Pedro Juan Llabrés, Cristina Martín-Escura, Roberto De la Torre-Martínez, Alicia Medina-Peris, Laura Butrón, Isabel Gómez-Monterrey, Ana María Roa, Gregorio Fernández-Ballester, Antonio Ferrer-Montiel, Asia Fernández-Carvajal, Rosario González-Muñiz. Phenylalanine-Derived β-Lactam TRPM8 Modulators. Configuration Effect on the Antagonist Activity. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Feb 27;22(5)

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PMID: 33673444

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