Lipophilic antifolates as potential antipsoriatic agents
The lipophilic dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor m-azidopyrimethamine (MZP) was investigated for suitability for development as a topical antipsoriatic agent. The clinical features and treatments for psoriasis were reviewed. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was employed as the main analytical method, with UV spectroscopy being used in some cases. Reduction of the azido-group was proposed as a potential detoxification mechanism for MZP. The rates of reduction of a series of substituted phenyl azide compounds by dithiothreitol were investigated and found to depend on the substitution pattern of the aryl azide molecular, with electron deficient azides exhibiting faster rates of reduction in the system studied. The rates of reduction of MZP and analogous compounds were also studied using this model. The skin penetration of MZP was assessed using an in vitro hairless mouse skin model. The rate of permeation (flux) of MZP across hairless mouse skin was found to be dependent on the quantity of propylene glycol used as cosolvent in the vehicle and the pH. The use of a pretreatment regime of oleic acid in propylene glycol was shown to greatly increase the penetration of MZP through the hairless mouse skin as compared to application without pretreatment, or pretreatment with other penetration enhancers. The metabolism of MZP was studied in in vitro models comprising skin homogenates, SV-K14 human keratinocyte cell cultures and skin commensal bacterial cultures. No conversion of MZP to the corresponding amine was detected in any of the models. The growth inhibitory properties of MZP were investigated in an in vitro SV-K14 human keratinocyte cell culture model and compared with those of other DHFR inhibitors. [14C]-pyrimethamine was shown to be taken up by the SV-K14 keratinocytes.