The pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been associated with dysregulation of histone deacetylases (HDACs). Previously, acridine-based HDAC inhibitors have shown potential in ameliorating HDAC activity and enhancing neurite outgrowth. In this study, the acridine ring was modified using various phenothiazine derivatives. Several resulting compounds exhibited potent enzyme-inhibiting activity towards class II HDACs when compared to the clinically approved HDAC inhibitor SAHA. Compound 4f demonstrated the highest class II HDAC inhibition (IC50 = 4.6–600 nM), as well as promotion of neurite outgrowth. Importantly, compound 4f displayed no cytotoxicity against neuron cells. Compound 4f was further evaluated for cellular effects. Altogether, these findings show a potential strategy in HDAC inhibition for treatment of the neurological disease.
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