91025 - Medicinal and Toxicological Chemistry I

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student should have a good understanding of the mechanistic aspects of how drugs work (mode of action) and in particular about the different kind of bonds and the steric factors involved in the drug-target interactions. During the course will be dealed the principal drugs families able to selectively hit the different microorganisms (chemiotherapy) and also to act inside the central nervous system. Furthermore, their chemical synthesis, structure-activity relationships, therapeutical utilization, and their related chemical-toxicological aspects should be known by the students.

Course contents

Molecular mechanisms of Drug action. Principles of drug pharmacokinetics: drug absorption, drug distribution, drug metabolism (Phase I and Phase II reactions), drug excretion, drugs pollution. Drug target interactions: description of different chemical bonds involved in. Influence of steric factors on drugs activity: optical (chirality), geometric and conformational isomery. Bioisosterism. Enzymatic inhibition: competitive and non-competitive inhibition. Antimetabolites. Suicide enzymatic inhibitors. Transition-state analogues.
Receptors: basic principles of receptor theory. Intracellular and membrane receptors.
Chemioterapeutics: definition, general aspects
Antibiotics which interfere with the biosynthesis of the cellular wall : beta-lactams antibiotics (chemical structure and nomenclature; mode of action). Penicillins: synthesis of the 6-APA; natural penicillins, acid-resistants, betalactamase-resistants, and wide spectrum penicillins. Cephalosporins: I, II, III e IV generation, SAR.
Thyenamycins, Imipenem, Nocardicins, Monobactams, clavulanic acid, Sulbactam, Fosfomycin, Glicopeptides.
Antibiotics which interfere with the protein transcription : Ansamycins (Rifamycins).
Antibiotics which interfere with the protein transduction : Macrolides, Chloramphenicol (classical synthesis), aminoglycosides, Tetracyclines (natural and semysinthetic, chemical physical properties, matabolic degradation, synthesis of mynocicline), Oxazolidinones.
DNA gyrase inhibitors : Quinolones (Chemical structures and mode of action. Derivatives of I, II e III generation. SAR. Synthesis of nalidixic acid).
Ihnibitors of the dihydropteroate synthase : Sulphamidics (general structure and chemical-phisical properties; SAR).
Ihnibitors of the dihydrofolate reductase : Structure and biological role of the folic acid, classical and non-classical inhibitors, selective toxicity. SAR. Synthesis of trimetoprim.
Antimalaric drugs: Plasmodium life cycle. Quinine alkaloids and analogues. 4-Aminoquinolines, 8-aminoquinolines, 9-amminoacridines, (mode of action, therapeutic use, synthesis of mefloquine), other derivatives with benzonaftiridinic nucleus, Artemisinines.
Antimycotics drugs: natural antimycotics : Griseofulvin, Macrolides Polyenes (Structure and mode of action). Chemical antymicotics: Azoles (mode of action, synthesis of fluconazole), Allylammines, thiocarbammates, 5-Fluorocitosine.
Antiviral drugs : Derivatives of purines and pyrimidines. Neuraminidase inhibitors. Protease inhibitors.
Anticancer drugs : Alkylating drugs. Antimetabolites. Intercalators. Topoisomerase I and II inhibitors. Mitotic inhibitors.

Drugs acting on CNS.
Sedative-hypnotics: Benzodiazepines (structure, mode of action, therapeutic use, metabolism, SAR, synthesis of oxazepam and general synthesis). Antagonists. Ansiolitics endowed with non-benzodiazepinic structure. Barbiturates (structure, mode of action, therapeutic use, SAR, general synthesis ).
Antiepileptics drugs: Barbiturates. Primidone. Other drugs acting on GABAergic system. Hydantoines. Oxazolidindiones. Succinimides. Other derivatives.
General anesthetics : gaseous, volatiles and endovenous (modes of action). Dopaminergic agonist (antiparkinson): Biological role of dopamine and acetylcholine. Dopaminergic agonists, Dopa-decarboxylase inhibitors, MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors. Synthesis of carbidopa.
Dopaminergic antagonists (neuroleptics): Phenothiazines (Structure, mode of action, SAR, analogues). Butyrophenones. Benzamides. Reserpine and analogues. Atypical antipsychotics. (synthesis of chlorpromazine and fluphenazine).
Antidepressant drugs : MAO inhibitors (classification, structure, synthesis of iproniazide). Tricyclic antidepressants endowed with 6,6,6 and 6,7,6 cycle (structure, mode of action, synthesis of imipramine e amitriptiline). Selective biological amines reuptake inhibitors.
Opioid analgesics: morphine, oripavines derivatives, morphinanes, benzomorphans, 4-phenylpiperidines and diphenylpropylamines (mode of action, therapeutic use, SAR,synthesis of oximorphone, oxycodone, methadone); partial agonists and antagonists.
Arachidonic acid cascade: prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes.
Non steroidal antinflammatory drugs: mode of action, SAR, pharmacological profile, (COX 1 and COX 2 selectivity). Synthesis of diclophenac, and general synthesis of oxycams.


VICTORIA F. ROCHE, S. WILLIAM ZITO, THOMAS L. LEMKE, DAVID A. WILLIAMS, Foye's Principles of Medicinal Chemistry, Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019, ISBN: 13:978-1-4963-8502-4 

The slides will be available on the web site of the course

Teaching methods

During the lessons will be treated all the different drugs classes with relative mechanisms of action, and the required synthesis as reported in the course program.

Assessment methods

The final class grade is based on an oral examination. In order to pass this exam the description of the chemical synthesis of two drugs, reported in the course program, will be required followed by an oral description of at least three drugs classes with the aim to verify the level of the acquisition of the different topics as reported in the outcomes of the course.

Registration on-line on AlmaEsami is mandatory.

Teaching tools

All the teaching program wiil be explained by PC power point presentation and, when necessary, by using the 3D molecular models and Chemoffice software.

Office hours

See the website of Vincenzo Tumiatti