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A number of 5′-O-fatty acyl derivatives of 3′-fluoro-2′,3′-dideoxythymidine (FLT, 1) were synthesized. These conjugates were evaluated for their potential as topical microbicides with anti-HIV activity against cell-free (X4 and R5), cell-associated, and multidrug-resistant viruses. Compared to FLT and 3′-azido-2′,3′-dideoxythymidine (AZT), 5′-O-(12-azidododecanoyl) (5), 5′-O-myristoyl (6), and 5′-O-(12-thioethyldodecanoyl) (8) derivatives of FLT were found to be more active against both cell-free viruses (lymphocytotropic and monocytotropic strains) with EC50 values of 0.4 μM, 1.1 μM, and <0.2 μM, respectively, as well as cell-associated virus with EC50 values of 12.6, 6.4, and 2.3 μM, respectively. Conjugates 5, 6, and 8 exhibited >4 and >30 times better antiviral index than FLT and AZT, respectively. Conjugates 5 and 8 were significantly more potent than FLT against many multidrug-resistant strains. A comparison of the anti-HIV activity with the corresponding non-hydrolyzable ether conjugates suggested that ester hydrolysis to FLT and fatty acids is critical to enable anti-HIV activity. Cellular uptake studies were conducted using fluorescent derivatives of FLT attached with 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein through either β-alanine (23) or 12-aminododecanoic acid (24) spacers. The lipophilic fluorescent analog with a long chain (24) showed more than 12 times higher cellular uptake profile than the fluorescent analog with a short chain (23). These studies further confirmed that the attachment of fatty acids improved the cellular uptake of nucleoside conjugates. In addition, 5, 6, and 8 were the least cytotoxic and did not alter vaginal cell and sperm viability compared to the positive control, a commercial topical spermicide (N-9), which significantly decreased sperm and vaginal cell viability inducing the generation of proinflammatory cytokines.


This article was originally published in Molecules, volume 27, in 2022. (2002 kB)
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