- Structure-activity relationship
Structure-activity relationships (SAR) are the traditional practices of
medicinal chemistrywhich try to modify the effect or the potency (i.e. activity) of bioactive chemical compounds by modifying their chemical structure. Medical chemists use the chemical techniques of synthesis to insert new chemical groups into the biomedical compound and test the modifications in their biological effect.
This enables the identification and determination of the chemical groups responsible for evoking a target biological effect in the organism. This method was later refined to build mathematical relationships between a chemical structure and its biological activity, known as (Q)SAR.
Related is the term SAFIR: structure affinity relationship.
AR and SAR paradox
The basic assumption for all molecule based
hypothesesis that similar molecules have similar activities. This principle is also called Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR). The underlying problem is therefore how to define a "small" difference on a molecular level, since each kind of activity, e.g. reaction ability, biotransformationability, solubility, target activity, and so on, might depend on another difference. A good example was given in the bioisosterismreview of Patanie/LaVoie. [G. A. Patani, E. J. LaVoie, "Bioisosterism: A Rational Approach in Drug Design". Chem. Rev., 1996, 96, 3147-3176. doi|10.1021/cr950066q]
In general, one is more interested in finding strong
trends. Created hypotheses usually rely on a finite number of chemical data. Thus, the induction principle should be respected to avoid overfitted hypotheses and deriving overfitted and useless interpretations on structural/molecular data.
The SAR paradox refers to the fact that it is not the case that all similar molecules have similar activities.
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