Mechanism of Action
Leflunomide is an immunomodulatory drug inhibiting mitochondrial enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (an enzyme involved in de novo pyrimidine synthesis) (abbreviation DHODH), which plays a key role in the de novo synthesis of the pyrimidine ribonucleotide uridine monophosphate (rUMP). The inhibition of human DHODH by A77 1726, the active metabolite of leflunomide, occurs at levels (approximately 600 nM) that are achieved during treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Leflunomide prevents the expansion of activated and autoimmune lymphocytes by interfering with their cell cycle progression while nonlymphoid cells are able to use another pathway to make their ribonucleotides by use of salvage pyrimidine pathway, which makes them less dependent on de novo synthesis. Genuine antiproliferative activity has been proven. In addition, several experimental models (both in vivo and in vitro) have demonstrated an anti-inflammatory effect. This double action is supposed to slow progression of the disease and to cause remission/relief of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis such as joint tenderness and decreased joint and general mobility in human patients.
Read more about this topic: Leflunomide, Basic Chemical, Pharmacological, and Marketing Data
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In pharmacology, the term mechanism of action (MOA) refers to the specific biochemical interaction through which a drug substance produces its pharmacological effect. A mechanism of action usually includes mention of the specific molecular targets to which the drug binds, such as an enzyme or receptor.
For example, the mechanism of action of aspirin involves irreversible inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase, therefore suppressing the production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.
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