Emerging Sulfated Flavonoids and other Polyphenols as Drugs: Nature as an Inspiration

Authors

  • Marta Correia-da-Silva,

    1. Centro de Química Medicinal da Universidade do Porto (CEQUIMED-UP), Laboratório de Química Orgânica e Farmacêutica, Departamento de Ciências Químicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • Emília Sousa,

    1. Centro de Química Medicinal da Universidade do Porto (CEQUIMED-UP), Laboratório de Química Orgânica e Farmacêutica, Departamento de Ciências Químicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • Madalena M. M. Pinto

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Química Medicinal da Universidade do Porto (CEQUIMED-UP), Laboratório de Química Orgânica e Farmacêutica, Departamento de Ciências Químicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
    • Correspondence to: Madalena M. M. Pinto, CEQUIMED-UP, Laboratório de Química Orgânica e Farmacêutica, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313, Porto, Portugal. E-mail: madalena@ff.up.pt; madalenakijjoa@gmail.com

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  • Marta Correia-da-Silva and Emília Sousa contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Nature uses sulfation of endogenous and exogenous molecules mainly to avoid potential toxicity. The growing importance of natural sulfated molecules, as modulators of a number of physiological and pathological processes, has inspired the synthesis of non-natural sulfated scaffolds. Until the 1990s, the synthesis of sulfated small molecules was almost restricted to derivatives of flavonoids and aimed mainly at structure elucidation and plant biosynthesis studies. Currently, the synthesis of this type of compounds concerns structurally diverse scaffolds and is aimed at the development of potential drugs and/or exploitation of the biological effects of sulfated metabolites. Some important hit compounds are emerging from sulfated flavonoids and other polyphenols mainly as anticoagulant and antiviral agents. When compared with polymeric macromolecules such as heparins, sulfated small molecules could be of value in therapeutics due to their hydrophobic nature that can contribute to improve the bioavailability. This review highlights the synthetic approaches that were applied to obtain monosulfated or polysulfated phenolic small molecules and compiles the diverse biological activities already reported for this type of derivatives. Toxicity and pharmacokinetic parameters of this emerging class of derivatives will also be considered, emphasizing their value for therapeutic applications.

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