Phenols are among the largest and most widely distributed groups of secondary metabolites within the plant kingdom. They are implicated in multiple and essential physiological functions. In humans they play an important role as microconstituents of the daily diet, their consumption being considered healthy. The physical and chemical properties of phenolic compounds make these molecules versatile ligands, capable of interacting with a wide range of targets, such as the Carbonic Anhydrases (CAs, EC 126.96.36.199). CAs reversibly catalyze the fundamental reaction of CO2
hydration to bicarbonate and protons in all living organisms, being actively involved in the regulation of a plethora of patho/physiological processes. This review will discuss the most recent advances in the search of naturally occurring phenols and their synthetic derivatives that inhibit the CAs and their mechanisms of action at molecular level. Plant extracts or mixtures are not considered in the present review.
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