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Weitensteiner, Sabine B.; Liebl, Johanna; Krystof, Vladimir; Havlíček, Libor; Gucký, Tomáš; Strnad, Miroslav; Fürst, Robert; Vollmar, Angelika M. and Zahler, Stefan (2013): Trisubstituted pyrazolopyrimidines as novel angiogenesis inhibitors.
In: PLOS ONE 8(1), e54607 [PDF, 3MB]

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Current inhibitors of angiogenesis comprise either therapeutic antibodies (e.g. bevacicumab binding to VEGF-A) or small molecular inhibitors of receptor tyrosin kinases like e.g. sunitinib, which inhibits PDGFR and VEGFR. We have recently identified cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) as novel alternative and pharmacologically accessible target in the context of angiogenesis. In the present work we demonstrate that trisubstituted pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidines constitute a novel class of compounds which potently inhibit angiogenesis. All seven tested compounds inhibited endothelial cell proliferation with IC(50) values between 1 and 18 µM. Interestingly, this seems not to be due to cytotoxicity, since none of them showed acute cytotoxic effects on endothelial cells at a concentration of 10 µM,. The three most potent compounds (LGR1404, LGR1406 and LGR1407) also inhibited cell migration (by 27, 51 and 31%, resp.), chemotaxis (by 50, 70 and 60% in accumulative distance, resp.), and tube formation (by 25, 60 and 30% of total tube length, resp.) at the non-toxic concentration of 10 µM. Furthermore, angiogenesis was reduced in vivo in the CAM assay by these three compounds. A kinase selectivity profiling revealed that the compounds prevalently inhibit Cdk2, Cdk5 and Cdk9. The phenotype of the migrating cells (reduced formation of lamellipodia, loss of Rac-1 translocation to the membrane) resembles the previously described effects of silencing of Cdk5 in endothelial cells. We conclude that especially LGR1406 and LGR1407 are highly attractive anti-angiogenic compounds, whose effects seem to largely depend on their Cdk5 inhibiting properties.

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