The cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) system is described to modulate various pathological conditions, including inflammation and fibrosis. A series of new heterocyclic small-molecule CB2 receptor agonists were identified from a high-throughput screen. Lead optimization gave access to novel, highly potent, and selective (over CB1) triazolopyrimidine derivatives. A preliminary structure-activity relationship was established, and physicochemical properties in this compound class were significantly improved toward better solubility, lipophilicity, and microsomal stability. An optimized triazolopyrimidine derivative, (3S)-1-[5-tert-butyl-3-[(1-cyclopropyltetrazol-5-yl)methyl]triazolo[4,5-d]pyrimidin-7-yl]pyrrolidin-3-ol (39), was tested in a kidney ischemia-reperfusion model, in which it showed efficacy at a dose of 10 mg kg(-1) (p.o.). A significant depletion of the three measured kidney markers indicated a protective role of CB2 receptor activation toward inflammatory kidney damage. Compound 39 was also protective in a model of renal fibrosis. Oral treatment with 39 at 3 mg kg(-1) per day significantly decreased the amount of fibrosis by ∼40 % which was induced by unilateral ureter obstruction.
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