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Review Article

Dihydrofolate Reductase (DHFR) Inhibitors: A Comprehensive Review

[ Vol. 31 , Issue. 7 ]


Renu Sehrawat, Priyanka Rathee, Sarita Khatkar, EsraKüpeli Akkol, Maryam Khayatkashani, Seyed Mohammad Nabavi and Anurag Khatkar*   Pages 799 - 824 ( 26 )


Background: Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is an indispensable enzyme required for the survival of most prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells as it is involved in the biosynthesis of essential cellular components. DHFR has attracted a lot of attention as a molecular target for various diseases like cancer, bacterial infection, malaria, tuberculosis, dental caries, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, fungal infection, influenza, Buruli ulcer, and respiratory illness. Various teams of researchers have reported different DHFR inhibitors to explore their therapeutic efficacy. Despite all the progress made, there is a strong need to find more novel leading structures, which may be used as better and safe DHFR inhibitors, especially against the microorganisms which are resistant to the developed drug candidates.

Objective: This review aims to pay attention to recent development, particularly made in the past two decades and published in this field, and pay particular attention to promising DHFR inhibitors. Hence, an attempt has been made in this article to highlight the structure of dihydrofolate reductase, the mechanism of action of DHFR inhibitors, most recently reported DHFR inhibitors, diverse pharmacological applications of DHFR inhibitors, reported in silico study data and recent patents based on DHFR inhibitors to comprehensively portray the current scenery for researchers interested in designing novel DHFR inhibitors.

Conclusion: A critical review of recent studies revealed that most novel DHFR inhibitor compounds either synthetically or naturally derived are characterized by the presence of heterocyclic moieties in their structure. Non-classical antifolates like trimethoprim, pyrimethamine, and proguanil are considered excellent templates to design novel DHFR inhibitors, and most of them have substituted 2,4-diamino pyrimidine motifs. Targeting DHFR has massive potential to be investigated for newer therapeutic possibilities to treat various diseases of clinical importance.


Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitors, tuberculosis, pyrimethamine, enzyme, methotrexate, trimethoprim.


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