Design, synthesis and characterization of a PEGylated stanozolol for potential therapeutic applications

Stanozolol (STZ) is a drug used to treat serious disorders like aplastic anemia and hereditary angioedema. It is also indicated as an adjunct therapy for the treatment of vascular disorders and growth failures. Encouraging results obtained using animal models demonstrated that STZ increases bone formation and mineralization, thus improving both density and biomechanical properties. Like natural androgens, such as TST and 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (5alpha-DHT), STZ binds androgen receptor (AR) to activate AR-mediated signaling. Despite its therapeutic effects, this synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS), or 5alpha-DHT derivative, due to its high lipophilicity, is poor soluble in water. Thus, to increase the water solubility and stability of STZ, as well as its bioavailability and efficacy, an innovative PEGylated STZ (STZ conjugated with (MeO-PEG-NH2)10kDa, (MeO-PEG-NH)10kDa-STZ) was synthesized. As confirmed by chromatography (RP-HPLC) and spectrometry (ATR-FTIR, 1H NMR, elemental CHNS(O) analysis, MALDI-TOF/TOF) analyses, a very pure, stable and soluble compound was obtained. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) competitive ELISA demonstrated that the resulting PEGylated STZ competes against biological TST, especially at lower concentrations. Cytotoxicity of increasing concentrations (1, 10, 25 or 50microM) of STZ and/or (MeO-PEG-NH)10kDa-STZ was also evaluated for up 80h by performing the MTT assay on human osteosarcoma Saos-2 cells, which express AR and are responsive to STZ. PEGylation mitigated cytotoxicity of STZ, by increasing the cell viability values, especially at higher drug concentrations. Furthermore, these results suggest that (MeO-PEG-NH)10kDa-STZ is a promising and reliable drug to be used in clinical conditions in which TST is required. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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