Journal of medicinal chemistry

Synthesis and inhibition of human acrosin and trypsin and acute toxicity of aryl 4-guanidinobenzoates.

PMID 3514912


The aryl 4-guanidinobenzoate, 4'-nitrophenyl 4-guanidinobenzoate (NPGB), is a potent inhibitor of sperm acrosin, an enzyme with an essential function in the fertilization process. NPGB prevents fertilization in a number of animal species and is a good lead compound for the development of contraceptive agents. In order to assess the efficacy of other aryl 4-guanidinobenzoates as acrosin inhibitors, 24 of these compounds were synthesized. Their inhibitory activity toward human acrosin was determined and compared with their activity toward human pancreatic trypsin in order to assess whether inhibitor sensitivity differed between these similar enzymes. Nine of the inhibitors were synthesized from phenols approved by the FDA for therapeutic use. The acute toxicity of these inhibitors in mice was determined and compared to that of nonoxynol-9, the most commonly used active ingredient in today's vaginal contraceptive preparations. All of the compounds proved to be potent inhibitors of human acrosin although 3 orders of magnitude difference were observed between the most and least effective inhibitors. Little specificity was present in regard to their inhibition of acrosin and trypsin. All the aryl 4-guanidinobenzoates synthesized from FDA-approved phenols were less toxic than nonoxynol-9, and it is concluded that these 4-guanidinobenzoates are of interest for further development and testing as nonhormonal contraceptive agents.