A combinatorial library of quinone-polyamine conjugates designed to optimize the antitrypanosomatid profile of hit compounds 1 and 2 has been prepared by a solid-phase approach. The conjugates were evaluated against the three most important human trypanosomatid pathogens (Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Leishmania donovani), and several showed promising activity. A subset also inhibited trypanothione reductase in vitro and induced oxidase activity of the enzyme. A highly potent analogue (7) was identified with activity against T. brucei as low as 70 nM and a selectivity index of 72. Interestingly, the presence of a cadaverine tail confers to 7 the ability to target mitochondrial function in Leishmania. In fact, in L. donovani promastigotes, we verified for 7 a decrease of cytoplasmic ATP and mitochondrial potential. Therefore, the current results support the suitability of the conjugation approach for the development of novel polyamine conjugates with enhanced therapeutic potential.
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