Zhiming Zhang

Women’s Health Institute of Illinois, Oak Lawn, Illinois, United States

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Publications (31)93.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: WAY-255348 is a potent nonsteroidal progesterone receptor (PR) antagonist previously characterized in rodents and nonhuman primates. This report describes the novel mechanism by which WAY-255348 inhibits the activity of progesterone. Most PR antagonists bind to and block PR action by inducing a unique "antagonist" conformation of the PR. However, WAY-255348 lacks the bulky side chains or chemical groups that have been associated with the conformation changes of helix 12 that lead to functional antagonism. We show that WAY-255348 achieves antagonist activity by binding to and subsequently preventing progesterone-induced nuclear accumulation, phosphorylation and promoter interactions of the PR. This effect was concentration dependent, as high concentrations of WAY-255348 alone are able to induce nuclear translocation, phosphorylation and subsequent promoter interactions resulting in partial agonist activity at these concentrations. However, at lower concentrations where nuclear accumulation and phosphorylation are prevented, the progesterone-induced DNA binding is blocked along with PR-dependent gene expression. Analysis of the PR conformation induced by WAY-255348 using a limited protease digestion assay, suggested that the WAY-255348 bound PR conformation was similar to that of a progesterone agonist-bound PR and distinct from steroidal antagonist-bound PR conformations. Furthermore, the recruitment and binding of peptides derived from nuclear receptor co-activators is consistent with WAY-255348 inducing an agonist-like conformation. Taken together, these data suggest that WAY-255348 inhibits PR action through a novel molecular mechanism that is distinct from previously studied PR modulators and may be a useful tool to further understanding of PR signaling pathways. Development of therapeutic molecules with this 'passive' antagonism mechanism may provide distinct advantages for patients with reproductive disorders or PR positive breast cancers.
    Biochemical pharmacology 08/2011; 82(11):1709-19. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Non-steroidal 1-methyl-1H-pyrrole-2-carbonitrile containing tetrahydronaphthalenes and acyclic derivatives were evaluated as novel series of progesterone receptor (PR) antagonists using the T47D cell alkaline phosphatase assay. Moderate to potent PR antagonists were achieved with these scaffolds. Several compounds (e.g., 15 and 20) demonstrated low nanomolar PR antagonist potency and good selectivity versus other steroid receptors.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 08/2010; 20(16):4816-8. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • ChemInform 01/2010; 33(26).
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    ABSTRACT: Novel 5-aryl indanones, inden-1-one oximes, and inden-1-ols were synthesized and evaluated as progesterone receptor (PR) modulators using the T47D cell alkaline phosphatase assay. Both PR agonists and antagonists were achieved with appropriate 3- and 5-substitution from indanones and inden-1-ols while inden-1-one oximes provided only PR antagonists. Several compounds such as 10 and 11 demonstrated potent in vitro PR agonist potency similar to that of steroidal progesterone (1). In addition, a number of compounds (e.g., 12, 13, 17, 18) showed potent PR antagonist activity indicating the indanones and derivatives are promising PR modulator templates.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 12/2009; 19(23):6666-9. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progesterone receptor (PR) modulators are used in contraception and post-menopausal hormone therapy, and are under clinical development for reproductive disorders such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis. Development of tissue selective PR modulators (SPRMs) with reduced side effects and improved pharmacology represents a large unmet medical need in the area of women's health. One approach to addressing this need is to focus on the two PR isoforms PR-A and PR-B. In vitro and in vivo studies have revealed both distinct as well as overlapping gene regulation and functional responses of the two PR isoforms that suggests that PR-A selective modulators may retain a desired biological profile. We have identified a chemical series of 4-(4-chlorophenyl)-substituted piperazine carbimidothioic acid esters (PCEs) that have partial PR agonist activity and selectively activate some PR-A isoform regulated genes in T47D cells. However, full microarray analysis in these cells does not predict a global isoform selective profile for these compounds, but rather a unique gene-selective profile is observed relative to steroidal progestins. Using multiplexed peptide interaction profiling and co-activator recruitment assays we find that the mechanism of partial agonism is only partly defined by the ability to recruit known co-activators or peptides but also depends on the cell and promoter context of the gene under investigation. The data demonstrate global consequences of mechanistic and functional differences that can lead to selective biological responses of novel steroid receptor modulators.
    Biochemical pharmacology 12/2008; 77(2):204-15. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of novel 7-(5'-cyanopyrrol-2-yl) substituted benzo[1,4]oxazepin-2-ones were prepared and tested for their progesterone receptor (PR) agonist or antagonist activity in the alkaline phosphatase assay using the human T47D breast carcinoma cell line. Both PR agonists and antagonists were achieved with an appropriate choice of 5-substitution. Several analogs were potent PR agonists (e.g., 12 and 13) or PR antagonists (e.g., 18) with good selectivity over other steroid receptors.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 09/2008; 18(18):5015-7. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Novel 7-aryl benzo[1,4]oxazepin-2-ones were synthesized and evaluated as non-steroidal progesterone receptor (PR) modulators. The structure activity relationship of 7-aryl benzo[1,4]oxazepinones was examined using the T47D cell alkaline phosphatase assay. A number of 7-aryl benzo[1,4]oxazepinones such as 10j and 10v demonstrated good in vitro potency (IC(50) of 10-30 nM) and selectivity (over 100-fold) at PR over other steroidal receptors such as glucocorticoid and androgen receptors (GR and AR). Several 7-aryl benzo[1,4]oxazepinones were active in the rat uterine decidualization model. In this in vivo model, compounds 10j and 10u were active at 3 mg/kg when dosed orally.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 08/2008; 16(13):6589-600. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have continued to explore the 3,3-dialkyl-5-aryloxindole series of progesterone receptor (PR) modulators looking for new agents to be used in female healthcare: contraception, fibroids, endometriosis, and certain breast cancers. Previously we reported that subtle structural changes with this and related templates produced functional switches between agonist and antagonist properties ( Fensome et al. Biorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2002, 12, 3487; 2003, 13, 1317 ). We herein report a new functional switch within the 5-(2-oxoindolin-5-yl)-1 H-pyrrole-2-carbonitrile class of compounds. We found that the size of the 3,3-dialkyl substituent is important for controlling the functional response; thus small groups (dimethyl) afford potent PR antagonists, whereas larger groups (spirocyclohexyl) are PR agonists. The product from our optimization activities in cell-based systems and also for kinetic properties in rodents and nonhuman primates was 5-(7-fluoro-3,3-dimethyl-2-oxo-2,3-dihydro-1 H-indol-5-yl)-1-methyl-1 H-pyrrole-2-carbonitrile 27 (WAY-255348), which demonstrated potent and robust activity on PR antagonist and contraceptive end points in the rat and also in cynomolgus and rhesus monkeys including ovulation inhibition, menses induction, and reproductive tract morphology.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2008; 51(6):1861-73. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have recently discovered 5-(3-cyclopentyl-2-thioxo-2,3-dihydro-1H-benzimidazol-5-yl)-1-methyl-1H-pyrrole-2-carbonitrile (14) as a potent, selective, and orally active non-steroidal progesterone receptor (PR) agonist. Compound 14 and its analog 13 possessed sub-nanomolar in vitro potency (EC(50) 0.1-0.5nM) in the T47D alkaline phosphatase assay, similar to that of the steroidal PR agonist medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). In contrast to MPA, 14 was highly selective (>500-fold) for the PR over both glucocorticoid and androgen receptors. In the rat uterine decidualization and complement component C3 models, 14 had oral ED(50) values of 0.02 and 0.003mg/kg, respectively, and was from 6- to 20-fold more potent than MPA. In the monkey ovulation inhibition model, compound 14 was also highly efficacious and potent with an oral ED(100) of 0.03mg/kg.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 10/2007; 15(20):6556-64. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We previously disclosed that 6-aryl benzoxazin-2-ones were PR modulators. In a continuation of this work we examined the SAR of new 6-arylamino benzoxazinones and found the targets 1-25, with an extra amino linker between the pendent 6-aryl groups and benzoxazinone or benzoxazine-2-thione core, were PR antagonists. A series of compounds with substituents at the 1- and 4-positions as well as different 6-aryl groups were prepared and tested in the T47D cell alkaline phosphatase assay. Interestingly, the SAR unveiled from the 6-arylamino benzoxazinones was quite different from those of their parent compounds. For example, in contrast to the 6-aryl benzoxazinones, methyl substitution at the 1-position significantly increased the potency of 6-arylamino benzoxazinones. Several 6-arylamino benzoxazinones (e.g., 12, IC(50)=5.0 nM) had low nanomolar in vitro potency as PR antagonists in the T47D cell alkaline phosphatase assay.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 02/2007; 17(1):189-92. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have identified mRNA markers of estradiol and progesterone action in the mouse mammary gland and uterus to establish an in vivo model for the evaluation of novel and potentially tissue selective estrogens and progestins. Gene chip analysis of mRNA from ovariectomized (OVX) mice treated with vehicle (V), 17beta-estradiol (E2), progesterone (P) or E2+P for 7 days identified defensinbeta1 (Defbeta1) and indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3 dioxygenase (INDO) as markers of E2 and P action in the mammary gland, and serine protease inhibitor, Kazal type 3 (Spink3) and G protein-coupled receptor 105 (GPR105) as markers in the uterus. Defbeta1 and Spink3 are both upregulated by E2+P, whereas INDO and GPR105 have a complementary profile of upregulation by E2 alone and suppression of the E2 effect by P. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of mammary gland markers was concordant with histological changes. Using this model, medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) and tanaproget (TNPR), a novel nonsteroidal progesterone receptor agonist, were evaluated and found to have no marked tissue selectivity relative to progesterone. In addition, the ERalpha selective ligand propyl pyrazole triol (PPT) and the ERbeta selective ligands ERB-041 and WAY-202196 were evaluated on the mammary gland endpoints of histology and Defbeta1 mRNA expression, and showed that ERalpha stimulation is necessary and sufficient for eliciting estradiol-mediated changes in the mammary gland.
    The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 10/2006; 101(1):11-21. · 3.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endometriosis, the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, is principally an estrogen-dependent disease. In contrast, exposure to progesterone during pregnancy or therapeutically has been shown to provide benefit to some women with this disease. However, recent research suggests that the presence of endometriosis impairs the capacity of the eutopic endometrium to respond to endogenous progesterone. Reduced progesterone responsiveness results in an elevated endometrial expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) during the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle in women with endometriosis. Although cyclic MMP expression is critical for endometrial growth and remodeling, the failure of progesterone to down-regulate MMPs may impair nidation and promote the invasive establishment of endometriosis. In the current study we examined the ability of a newly developed progesterone receptor (PR) agonist, tanaproget (TNPR), to down-regulate endometrial MMP expression in vitro and regress experimental endometriosis in vivo. This study was performed at a university-based medical center. Asymptomatic volunteers and patients with endometriosis were studied. We examined the ability of TNPR to down-regulate endometrial MMP expression in vitro compared with that of natural progesterone and two currently marketed synthetic steroidal progestins. Using a human/mouse model of endometriosis, we also tested the in vivo ability of TNPR to regress ectopic lesions established by tissues with reduced progesterone sensitivity. TNPR effectively down-regulated MMP expression in vitro and induced significant reduction of lesions in mice with disease established by tissues from endometriosis patients. Given the positive preclinical pharmacological profile of TNPR that has recently been reported, additional development of this compound for the treatment of endometriosis is warranted.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 05/2006; 91(4):1554-60. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progesterone receptor (PR) agonists have several important applications in women's health, such as in oral contraception and post-menopausal hormone therapy. Currently, all PR agonists used clinically are steroids. Because of their interactions with other steroid receptors, steroid-metabolizing enzymes, or other steroid-signaling pathways, these drugs can pose significant side effects in some women. Efforts to discover novel nonsteroidal PR agonists with improved biological properties led to the discovery of tanaproget (TNPR). TNPR binds to the PR from various species with a higher relative affinity than reference steroidal progestins. In T47D cells, TNPR induces alkaline phosphatase activity with an EC(50) value of 0.1 nm, comparable with potent steroidal progestins such as medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) and trimegestone (TMG), albeit with a reduced efficacy ( approximately 60%). In a mammalian two-hybrid assay to measure PR agonist-induced interaction between steroid receptor co-activator-1 and PR, TNPR showed similar potency (EC(50) value of 0.02 nm) and efficacy to MPA and TMG. Importantly, in key animal models such as the rat ovulation inhibition assay, TNPR demonstrates full efficacy and an enhanced progestational potency (30-fold) when compared with MPA and TMG. Furthermore, TNPR has relatively weak interactions with other steroid receptors and binding proteins and little effect on cytochrome P450 metabolic pathways. Finally, the three-dimensional crystal structure of the PR ligand binding domain with TNPR has been delineated to demonstrate how this nonsteroidal ligand achieves its high binding affinity. Therefore, TNPR is a structurally novel and very selective PR agonist with an improved preclinical pharmacological profile.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2005; 280(31):28468-75. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that the aryl substituted benzimidazolones, benzoxazinones, and oxindoles (e.g., 1-3) are progesterone receptor (PR) antagonists and have recently disclosed that the nature of 5- and 6-aryl moieties played a critical role in PR functional activity in the oxindole and benzoxazinone templates. For example, replacing the phenyl group of PR antagonists 2 and 3 with a 5'-cyanopyrrol-2'-yl moiety switched their functional activity to PR agonist activity (2a and 3a). These findings prompted us to examine if there is a similar effect of the 6-aryl moieties on the PR functional activity for the benzimidazolone template. Numerous analogs, such as 5, showed potent PR antagonist activity with about a 10-fold increase in potency as compared to those reported earlier in the same series. More interestingly, pyrrole-containing benzimidazolones 24-27 remained as PR antagonists in contrast to the PR agonist activity switch for oxindole and benzoxazinone scaffolds when a 5'-cyanopyrrol-2'-yl group was installed as a pendant aryl group.
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 09/2005; 15(15):3600-3. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tanaproget represents a potential first-in-class nonsteroidal PR agonist for contraception with improved safety and side effect profiles versus currently available steroidal oral contraceptives. Additional SAR, biological activity, and structural information from a tanaproget/hPR-LBD (hPR-LBD = human progesterone receptor ligand binding domain) cocrystal structure will also be presented.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 09/2005; 48(16):5092-5. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Oral contraceptives (OC) and postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) modulate plasma levels of proteins that regulate blood coagulation. It remains unclear whether the progestin component contributes to these changes. The present study was designed to determine whether progestins modulate two essential plasma anticoagulants, antithrombin (AT) and tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI), in an animal model. Ovariectomized rats were treated orally with three progestins, norethindrone acetate (NETA), trimegestone (TMG), or drospirenone (DSP), either alone or combined with 17alpha-ethyinylestradiol (EE). Plasma AT levels were unchanged. However, TFPI activity was reduced by EE alone (10-100 microg/kg/day) in a dose-dependent manner; NETA (3 or 10 mg/kg/day) reduced TFPI by approximately 40 or approximately 80%, respectively, while TMG and DSP had no effect. NETA and EE effects were blocked by co-administration of ICI-182,780, an estrogen receptor antagonist, suggesting that both responses were likely estrogen receptor-mediated. Reduced TFPI after NETA or EE treatment was not accompanied by changes in TFPI mRNA levels in tissues that express TFPI, but there was a positive correlation between plasma TFPI and total cholesterol. Sex hormone effects on TFPI in this model and as reported in women may help to shift the coagulation balance to a more prothrombotic state. Progestins such as TMG and DSP that lack estrogenic activity could potentially have an improved clinical profile.
    The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 04/2005; 94(4):361-8. · 3.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progesterone (P4) plays an essential role in female reproduction and progesterone receptor (PR) agonists have been used in female contraceptives and in postmenopausal hormone therapy. Recent studies in women and non-human primates show that PR antagonists may also have potential as contraceptive agents and for the treatment of various gynaecological and obstetric diseases, including fibroids, endometriosis and, possibly, hormone-dependent cancers. Clinically available PR agonists and antagonists are steroidal compounds and often cause various side effects due to their functional interaction with other steroid receptors. Recently, numerous receptor-selective non-steroidal PR agonists and antagonists have emerged. This patent review will focus on the latest developments in these areas (since 2000).
    03/2005; 13(12):1839-1847.
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    ABSTRACT: Progesterone, acting primarily via the progesterone receptor (PR), plays an essential role in the regulation of female reproduction. Steroidal progestins (i.e., PR agonists) are commonly used in women's health, such as in contraception and hormone therapy and for the treatment of gynecological disorders. Recent studies in women and in nonhuman primates also indicate that PR antagonists may have potential applications in contraception and for the treatment of reproductive disorders such as fibroids and endometriosis. Currently, all clinically available PR agonists and antagonists are steroidal compounds. They often cause various side effects due to their functional interactions with other steroid receptors or because of effects associated with their steroidal metabolites. In an effort to identify more receptor-selective and structurally diverse compounds that may render clinical advantages over steroidal PR ligands, numerous receptor-selective novel nonsteroidal PR agonists and antagonists have been discovered. This review focuses on the structure activity relationships and the biological profile of the nonsteroidal PR modulators discovered in the last decade.
    Seminars in Reproductive Medicine 03/2005; 23(1):46-57. · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of 1,4-dihydro-2H-[d][3,1]-benzoxazin-2-one and 1,3-dihydro-[3H]-indol-2-one containing 6- or 5-, respectively, appended substituted pyrrole moieties were synthesized and evaluated for their ability to modulate the activity of the progesterone receptor (PR). Key structural changes to the pyrrole moieties of these molecules were shown to have a predictive influence as to whether the compounds behaved as PR agonists or antagonists. Compounds with the 5(')-cyano-2(')-pyrrole moiety (e.g., 32, 33, and 38) were shown to be potent PR agonists (EC(50)'s of 1.1, 1.8, and 2.8 nM, respectively). Compounds with the 5(')-nitro-2(')-pyrrole moiety (e.g., 34 and 36) were shown to be PR antagonists (IC(50)'s of 180 and 36 nM, respectively).
    Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 06/2004; 14(9):2185-9. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Progestins play an important role in women's health and are used in oral contraception, hormone therapy, and treatment of reproductive disorders. The effects of progestins upon gene expression in breast epithelium are poorly understood. In an attempt to characterize the molecular mechanism of progestin action, we used a gene expression profiling approach to examine the action of a novel progestin in the T47D cell model, a human breast cancer cell line. PRA-910 is a novel, nonsteroidal progesterone receptor modulator (PRM) with species-specific activities identified in a screen for selective PRMs. To understand the mechanism of action for PRA-910 in T47D cells, we compared its gene regulation to progesterone (P4) and RU486 through Affymetrix U95A GeneChip analysis and TaqMan RT-PCR. PRA-910, P4, and RU486 regulated 50, 108, and 16 genes by threefold or greater versus vehicle, respectively, with 18 genes having similar regulation for P4 and PRA-910. These data confirm and extend previous findings for T47D cells. We also obtained time course, concentration-response, cyclohexamide sensitivity, and PR-specificity data for two progestin-regulated genes, ATP1A1 and CLDN8. Our data demonstrate that PRA-910 has a unique gene regulation profile distinct from both P4 and RU486. Further investigation of the underlying mechanism for these differences is ongoing.
    Steroids 12/2003; 68(10-13):995-1003. · 2.80 Impact Factor