Synthesis and anticonvulsant evaluation of dimethylethanolamine analogues of valproic acid and its tetramethylcyclopropyl analogue

Tawfeeq Shekh-Ahmad, Meir Bialer, Eylon Yavin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Valproic acid (VPA) is a major antiepileptic drug (AED) that is less potent than other AEDs. 2,2,3,3-Tetramethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid (TMCA) is an inactive cyclopropyl analogue of VPA that serves as a starting material for the synthesis of CNS-active compounds. Methods: New conjugation products between N,N'-dimethylethanolamine to VPA and TMCA to form N,N-dimethylethanolamine valproate (DEVA) and N,N-dimethylethanolamine 2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropionate were synthesized and their anticonvulsant activity was assessed in the maximal electroshock seizure (MES) and subcutaneous metrazol (scMet) seizure tests and the hippocampal kindling model in mice and/or rats. An amide analogue of DEVA (DEVAMIDE) was also synthesized and evaluated. The pharmacokinetics of DEVA and DEVAMIDE was comparatively evaluated in rats. Results: In rats DEVA acted as a prodrug of VPA and had ED 50 values of 73mg/kg and 158mg/kg in the MES and the hippocampal kindling models, respectively. At these two anticonvulsant models DEVA was seven-times more potent than VPA. DEVAMIDE was active in the MES test at doses of 100mg/kg (mice) and its rat-MES-ED 50=38.6mg/kg however, its protective index (PI=TD 50/ED 50) was twice lower than DEVA's PI. The TMCA analogues were inactive at the mice MES and scMet models. DEVA underwent rapid metabolic hydrolysis to VPA and consequently, in its pharmacokinetic analysis only VPA plasma levels were monitored. In contrast, DEVAMIDE was stable in whole blood. Conclusion: DEVA acts in rats as a prodrug of VPA yet shows a more potent anticonvulsant activity than VPA. DEVAMIDE acted as the drug on its own and was more potent than DEVA at the rat-MES test.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Anticonvulsant activity
  • Maximal electroshock seizure test
  • Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic correlation
  • Subcutaneous metrazol seizure test
  • Valproic acid esteric and amide deraivatives


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