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Styrylquinoline is a quinoline molecule linked to phenyl rings with an unsaturated ethylene linker, resulting in a flat and rigid conformation. The synthesis of the molecule was reported almost a century ago but was not much explored due to its adverse toxicity and poor selectivity. In the last two decades, a plethora of work was reported related to the synthesis and antiretroviral activity of several styrylquinoline derivatives. Later, other activities such as antimicrobial and anticancer abilities of these derivatives were also reported. In this review, we summarize the diverse steps of the development and analyze the spectrum of the activity of styrylquinolines and their utilization in drug design. Styrylquinolines are extensively explored for new pharmacological activities in recent years and this makes the moiety gain more visibility as a potential drug candidate and lead molecule in medicinal chemistry. The data obtained in vitro and ex vivo shed light on their different mechanism of action. Styrylquinoline has proved to be a potential lead molecule in medicinal chemist’s toolkit due to the exploration of a variety of avenues of its activity as a drug candidate.

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