Focusing on α-pyridoin (1, 1,2-di(2-pyridyl)-1,2-ethenediol) as the lead compound of the novel antioxidative enediol, we synthesized 5,5′- or 6,6′-bis-substituted derivatives of 1 from disubstituted pyridines. The antioxidant activity of 1 and its synthetic derivatives 2-7 was evaluated by DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical) scavenging assay and inhibition of lipid peroxidation. In the DPPH assay, 1 exhibited an activity stronger than that of ascorbic acid, and 5,5′-dimethyl-(5) or 5,5′-dimethoxy- substituted derivatives (6) exhibited more potent activity than 1. The DPPH scavenging activities of α-pyridoins were correlated with their oxidation potential and thus the electron density of enediol. 5 and 6 effectively inhibited lipid peroxidation in the rat liver microsome/tert-butyl hydroperoxide system. Therefore, 5 and 6 serve as good candidates for a pharmacologically useful enediol antioxidant.
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