Medicinal Chemistry Research

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1366–1373 | Cite as

Design, synthesis and neuroprotective activities of novel cinnamide derivatives containing benzylpiperazine moiety

  • Yan Zhong
  • Xiaofeng Li
  • Aixia Zhang
  • Yi Xu
  • Ping Li
  • Bin Wu
Original Research


A new series of cinnamide derivatives 6al were synthesized by the reaction of acyl chlorides with various substituted benzylpiperazines. The structures were characterized by 1H NMR, 13C NMR, and HRMS. The potential neuroprotective activities of cinnamide analogs were evaluated in differentiated rat pheochromocytoma cells (PC12 cells) and in mice subjected to acute cerebral ischemia. Among the series, 6a, 6b, and 6c, featuring a 1,3-benzodioxole moiety, showed potent neuroprotection both in vivo and in vitro. The three compounds were selected and further studied to determine their mechanism of action. MTT assay, Hoechst 33342/PI double staining, and high content screening (HCS) revealed that pretreatment of the cells with 6a, 6b, and 6c has significantly decreased the extent of cell apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. The results of western blot analysis demonstrated these compounds suppressed apoptosis of glutamate-induced PC12 cells via caspase-3 pathway. These compounds can be lead compounds for further discovery of neuroprotective agents for treating cerebral ischemic stroke.


Cinnamide Neuroprotection Caspase-3 Cerebral ischemia Apoptosis 



The authors are grateful to the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81371451) and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20131390).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Alexandrov AV, Hall CE, Labiche LA, Wojner AW, Grotta JC (2004) Ischemic stunning of the brain: early recanalization without immediate clinical improvement in acute ischemic stroke. Stroke 35:449–452CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Beresford IJ, Parsons AA, Hunter AJ (2003) Treatments for stroke. Expert Opin Emerg Drugs 8:103–122CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. de Keyser J, Sulter G, Luiten PG (1999) Clinical trials with neuroprotective drugs in acute ischaemic stroke: are we doing the right thing? Trends Neurosci 22:535–540CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Jia Q, Liu LP, Wang YJ (2011) Risk factors and prevention of stroke in the Chinese population. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 20:395–400CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Li ZY, Jiang YM, Liu YM, Guo Z, Shen SN, Liu XM, Pan RL (2014) Saikosaponin D acts against corticosterone-induced apoptosis via regulation of mitochondrial GR translocation and a GR-dependent pathway. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 53:80–89CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Liu M, Wu B, Wang WZ, Lee LM, Zhang SH, Kong LZ (2007) Stroke in China: epidemiology, prevention, and management strategies. Lancet Neurol 6:456–464CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Liu XD, Lv YL, Wang B, Zhao G, Yan YP, Xu DZ (2007) Prediction of functional outcome of ischemic stroke patiants in northwest China. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 109:571–577CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Long JZ, Jin X, Adibekian A, Li WW, Cravatt BF (2010) Characterization of tunable piperidine and piperazine carbamates as inhibitors of endocannabinoid hydrolases. J Med Chem 53:1830–1842CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Ma SW, Liu HX, Jiao HY, Wang LY, Chen LY, Liang J, Zhao M, Zhang XT (2012) Neuroprotective effect of ginkgolide K on glutamate-induced cytotoxicity in PC 12 cells via inhibition of ROS generation and Ca(2+) influx. Neurotoxicology 33:59–69CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Maki S, Osamu T, Ryo T, Aki S (2013) Synthesis and biological evaluation of pyrrolidine derivatives as novel and potent sodium channel blockers for the treatment of ischemic stroke. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 23:4230–4234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Meng Y, Guo YB, Ling Y, Zhao YH, Zhang Q, Zhou XY, Ding F, Yang YM (2011) Synthesis and protective effects of aralkyl alcoholic 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-β-d-pyranosides on hypoglycemia and serum limitation induced apoptosis in PC12 cell. Bioorg Med Chem 19:5577–5584CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Mosmann T (1983) Rapid colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival: application to proliferation and cytotoxicity assays. J Immunol Methods 65:55–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Park SJ, Nam KW, Lee HJ, Cho EY, Koo U, Mar W (2009) Neuroprotective effects of an alkaloid-free ethyl acetate extract from the root of Sophora flavescens Ait. against focal cerebral ischemia in rats. Phytomedicine 16:1042–1051CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Sahin A, Cakmak O, Demirtas I, Okten S, Tutar A (2008) Efficient and selective synthesis of quinoline deravatives. Tetrahedron 64:10068–10074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Šterk D, Časar Z, Jukič M, Košmrlj J (2012) Concise and highly efficient approach to three key pyrimidine precursors for rosuvastatin synthesis. Tetrahedron 68:2155–2160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Tanaka K, Matsuo K, Nakanishi A, Hatano T, Izeki H, Ishida Y, Mori W (1983) Syntheses and anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of hydroxamic acids and acid hydrazides. Chem Pharm Bull 31:2810–2819CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Wang CJ, Hu CP, Xu KP, Yuan Q, Li FS, Zou H, Tan GS, Li YJ (2010) Protective effect of selaginellin on glutamate-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in differentiated PC12 Cells. Naunyn Schmied Arch Pharmacol 381:73–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wang DR, Hao ZL, Tao WD, Kong FY, Zhang SH, Wu B, Lin S, Liu M (2011) Acute ischemic stroke in the very elderly Chinese: risk factors, hospital management and one-year outcome. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 113:442–446CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Warach S, Latour LL (2004) Evidence of reperfusion injury, exacerbated by thrombolytic therapy, in human focal brain ischemia using a novel imaging marker of early blood-brain barrier disruption. Stroke 35:2659–2661CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Wu B, Zhou L, Cai HH (2008) Synthesis and neuroprotective properties of novel cinnamide derivatives. Chin Chem Lett 19:1163–1166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wu B, Zhu DY, Li F (2012) Preparation and use of a novel substituted cinnamide derivatives as neuroprotective agents C.N. Patent No. ZL200810020419.8Google Scholar
  22. Yanpallewar SU, Hota D, Rai S, Kumar M, Acharya SB (2004) Nimodipine attenuates biochemical, behavioral and histopathological alterations induced by acute transient and long-term bilateral common carotid occlusion in rats. Pharmacol Res 49:143–150CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Yousef MM, Afshin AD, Jawad FK, Pansy HL, Adnan IQ (2004) Acute treatment for ischemic stroke in 2004. Emerg Radiol 11:83–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zhang YY, Wang XY, Wang XR, Xu ZH, Liu Z, Ni Q, Chu XP, Qiu MF, Zhao AH, Jia W (2006) Protective effect of flavonoids from Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi on cerebral ischemia injury. J Ethnopharmacol 108:355–360CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of PharmacyNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.School of Basic Medical SciencesNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations