Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Chang-Guo Zhan


Lipid messenger prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a prostanoid that plays a key role in the generation of the inflammatory response. Currently available non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and/or COX-2, all with significant cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and gastrointestinal risks that have limited their utilization. Microsomal PGE2 synthase 1 (mPGES-1), an inducible enzyme responsible for overproduction of PGE2, may be a more promising target for a new type of anti-inflammatory drug without the adverse effects associated with the COX-1/2 inhibition. There have been extensive efforts to design and discover inhibitors targeting mPGES-1. Unfortunately, within the previously reported potent human mPGES-1 inhibitors, few have also been identified as potent inhibitors of mouse or rat mPGES-1, which prevents the use of well-established mouse or rat models of inflammation and pain in preclinical drug development. In a recently published study, we were able to design and discover a novel compound, denoted as UK4b, capable of potently inhibiting both human mPGES-1 (IC50=33 nM) and mouse mPGES-1 (IC50=157 nM). Additionally, our lab has designed and discovered another potent mPGES-1 inhibitor, KD001, and has computationally identified an FDA-approved drug, ceftriaxone, as a potent mPGES-1 inhibitor. In this dissertation, we demonstrate that UK4b, KD001, and ceftriaxone all have the desired potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects against post-operative pain in wild-type mice, adjuvant-induced knee joint arthritis in wild-type rats, and carrageenan-induced paw edema and hyperalgesia.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

These studies were supported by the Investigator-Initiated Research Award W81XWH2211000 (to Dr. Chang-Guo Zhan and Dr. Fang Zheng) from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Chronic Pain Management Research Program (CPMRP) and an award (to Dr. Fang Zheng and Dr. Chang-Guo Zhan) from the Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization (KYNETIC) program associated with National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant U01 HL152392 (funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Eye Institute, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky).

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025