Insomnia is a widespread health problem characterized by difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep for at least four weeks. Studies show that approximately 25-30% of adults suffer from some sleep disorder, and 10% have severe disorders that meet the classification criteria of insomnia. The treatment of this disease is conventionally done by benzodiazepine drugs, which cause dependence of the patient by these drugs. In the early 90s were introduced the "Z-drugs", which have less potential for dependence and they don't cause sedation in the next day, as is the case of zopiclone. The zopiclone is a chiral drug that is extensively metabolized to zopiclone-N-oxide (N-Ox) and N-desmethyl zopiclone (N-Dex) metabolites. Behavioral test for the (S)-N-desmethyl zopiclone showed an anxiolytic effect at all doses evaluated, indicating that this metabolite has a great potential for the treatment of anxiety. An alternative for obtaining this metabolite is the biotransformation, which are transformations caused by microorganisms that cause changes in the chemical structure of the initial compound. In biotransformation processes, the fungi are used most frequently because they are able to perform several types of reactions. In addition, their growth is fast; their cultivation is cheap and the fermentations on a large scale is easily reached. Therefore, this project aims to assess the potential of fungi in performing the enantioselective metabolism of zopiclone and thus to obtain the active metabolite N-desmethyl-zopiclone, preferably in its pure enantiomeric form.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: