Tricyclic, bicyclic, and monocyclic compounds containing cyanoenones induce various anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective enzymes through activation of the Keap1/Nrf2/ARE (antioxidant response element) pathway. The potency of these compounds as Nrf2 activators was determined using a prototypic cytoprotective enzyme NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) in Hepa1c1c7 murine hepatoma cells. The electron affinity (EA) of the compounds, expressed as the energy of their lowest unoccupied molecular orbital [E (LUMO)], was evaluated using two types of quantum mechanical calculations: the semiempirical (AM1) and the density functional theory (DFT) methods. We observed striking linear correlations [. r = 0.897 (AM1) and 0.936 (DFT)] between NQO1 inducer potency of these compounds and their E (LUMO) regardless of the molecule size. Importantly and interestingly, this finding demonstrates that the EA is the essentially important factor that determines the reactivity of the cyanoenones with Keap1.
- Electron affinity
- Energy of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital
- Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway
- NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) inducer
- Nrf2 activator