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Mitochondrial selectivity and remarkable photocytotoxicity of a ferrocenyl neodymium(III) complex of terpyridine and curcumin in cancer cells.

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      Abstract

      A series of four novel neodymium(iii) complexes of the formulation [Nd(R-tpy)(O-O)(NO3)2] (), where R-tpy is 4'-phenyl-2,2':6',2''-terpyridine (Ph-tpy; , ) and 4'-ferrocenyl-2,2':6',2''-terpyridine (Fc-tpy; , ); O-O is the conjugate base of acetylacetone (Hacac; , ) or curcumin (Hcurc; , ), are synthesized and characterized. The single crystal structure of shows that the complex is a discrete mononuclear species with the Nd(iii) centre in a nine coordinate environment provided by a set of O6N3 donor atoms. Complexes and having the simple acac ligand are prepared as control compounds. Complex , possessing an appended ferrocenyl (Fc) and the curcumin moiety, is remarkably photocytotoxic to HeLa and MCF-7 cancer cells in visible light giving respective IC50 values of 0.7 μM and 2.1 μM while being significantly less toxic to MCF-10A normal cells (IC50 = 34 μM) and in the dark (IC50 > 50 μM). The phenyl appended complex , lacking a ferrocenyl moiety, is significantly less toxic to both the cell lines when compared with . Complexes and , lacking the photoactive curcumin moiety, do not show any apparent toxicity both in light and in the dark. The cell death is apoptotic in nature and is mediated by the light-induced formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Fluorescence imaging experiment with HeLa cells reveals mitochondrial accumulation of complex within 4 h of incubation. The complexes bind to calf thymus (ct) DNA with moderate affinity giving Kb values in the range of 10(4)-10(5) M(-1). The curcumin complexes and cleave plasmid supercoiled DNA to its nicked circular form in visible light via(1)O2 and ˙OH pathways. The presence of the ferrocenyl moiety is likely to be responsible for the enhanced cellular uptake and photocytotoxicity of complex . Thus, the mitochondria targeting complex , being remarkably cytotoxic in light but non-toxic in the dark and to normal cells, is a potential candidate for photochemotherapeutic applications.

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      Affiliations
      [1 ] Department of Chemistry, Handique Girls' College, Guwahati 781001, Assam, India. akhtariisc@gmail.com.
      [2 ] Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, Karnataka, India. samya@ipc.iisc.ernet.in.
      Journal
      Dalton Trans
      Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)
      Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
      1477-9234
      1477-9226
      Apr 21 2016
      : 45
      : 15
      26947919
      10.1039/c5dt04775g

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