European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 240, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Nicotinic acid and derivatives as multifunctional pharmacophores for medical applications

  • Nujarin Sinthupoom
  • Veda Prachayasittikul
  • Supaluk PrachayasittikulEmail author
  • Somsak Ruchirawat
  • Virapong PrachayasittikulEmail author
Review Article


Cardiovascular disease is one of the major health problems worldwide. It is a vascular condition known as an atherosclerosis referring to the accumulation of immune cells and lipids in vascular walls that finally obstructs blood flow to trigger heart attack. To prevent and treat the atherosclerosis is to control blood lipid level. Diverse classes of lipid-lowering drug have been used. Nicotinic acid (niacin or vitamin B3) is the first drug that has been used for over five decades. Nicotinic acid and its derivatives play important role as multifunctional pharmacophores exerting a variety of biological activities. This review focuses on the redox and non-redox reactions as well as antioxidant activity of nicotinic acid derivatives and drugs acting on nicotinic acid receptor including therapeutic and cosmetic applications. Structure–activity relationship of nicotinic acid derivatives has been discussed. This article could provide insight into the rational design and development of novel bioactive compounds with therapeutic potential.

Graphical Abstract


Niacin Nicotinic acid derivatives Nicotinic acid receptor Pharmacophore Antioxidant Structure–activity relationships 



Very-low-density lipoprotein


Intermediate-density lipoprotein


Low-density lipoprotein


High-density lipoprotein


Food and Drug Administration


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Structure–activity relationship


Flavin adenine dinucleotide


Adenosine triphosphate

Acetyl CoA

Acetyl coenzyme A


Tricarboxylic acid


Reactive oxygen species


Cytochrome P450


Poly ADP-ribose polymerase


Poly ADP-ribose glycohydrolase


Cyclic adenosine monophosphate


Protein kinase A


Hormone-sensitive lipase


Free fatty acid


G-protein-coupled receptors


Inhibitory G-protein-coupled receptors


Transmembrane helices


Extracellular loop


Phospholipase A2


Highest occupied molecular orbital


Lowest unoccupied molecular orbital


Ionization potential


Dipole moment


Quantitative structure–activity relationships


Minimum inhibitory concentration


Electron affinity



This project is supported by the Office of the Higher Education Commission, Mahidol University under the National Research Universities Initiative and Annual Government Grant of Mahidol University (2556–2558 B.E.).

Conflict of interest


Compliance with Ethics Requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nujarin Sinthupoom
    • 1
  • Veda Prachayasittikul
    • 1
  • Supaluk Prachayasittikul
    • 2
    Email author
  • Somsak Ruchirawat
    • 3
  • Virapong Prachayasittikul
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Microbiology and Applied Technology, Faculty of Medical TechnologyMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Center of Data Mining and Biomedical Informatics, Faculty of Medical TechnologyMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Laboratory of Medicinal ChemistryChulabhorn Research Institute and Chulabhorn Graduate InstituteBangkokThailand

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