In view of reported xanthine oxidase inhibitory potential of naphthopyrans and flavones, naphthoflavones as hybrids of the two were designed, synthesized and evaluated for in vitro xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity in the present study. The results of the assay revealed that the naphthoflavones possess promising inhibitory potential against the enzyme with IC50 values ranging from 0.62 to 41.2 μM. Structure activity relationship indicated that the nature and placement of substituents on the phenyl ring at 2nd position remarkably influences the inhibitory activity. Substitution of halo and nitro groups at ortho and para position of the phenyl ring (2nd position) remarkably favored the activity. NF-4 with p-fluoro phenyl ring was the most potent inhibitor with IC50 value of 0.62 μM. Enzyme kinetics study was also performed to investigate the inhibition mechanism and it was found that the naphthoflavones displayed mixed type inhibition. The basis of significant inhibition of xanthine oxidase by NF-4 was rationalized by molecular modeling studies.
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