Biocatalyzed synthesis can be exploited to produce high-value products, such as prodrugs. The replacement of chemical approaches with biocatalytic processes is advantageous in terms of environmental prevention, embracing the principles of green chemistry. In this work, we propose the covalent attachment of xylitol to ibuprofen to produce an IBU-xylitol ester prodrug. Xylitol was chosen as a hydrophilizer for the final prodrug, enhancing the water solubility of ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) extensively used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic. Despite being the third-most-prescribed medicine in the world, the aqueous solubility of ibuprofen is just 21 mg/L. This poor water solubility greatly limits the bioavailability of ibuprofen. We aimed to functionalize ibuprofen with xylitol using the reusable immobilized N435 biocatalyst. Instead of a biphasic media, we proposed a monophasic reaction environment. The characterization of the IBU-xylitol ester was performed by H, C-NMR, DEPT, COSY, HMQC, HMBC, FTIR, and MS spectroscopy. Preliminary in vitro tests showed that this enzymatically synthesized prodrug of ibuprofen reduced the expression of the interleukin 8 genes in human bronchial epithelial cells (IB3-1) from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
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