Vanadium polypyridyl compounds as potential antiparasitic and antitumoral agents: New achievements

Julio Benítez, Lorena Becco, Isabel Correia, Sandra Milena Leal, Helena Guiset, João Costa Pessoa, Julia Lorenzo, Sebastian Tanco, Patricia Escobar, Virtudes Moreno, Beatriz Garat, Dinorah Gambino

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114 Citations (Scopus)


In the search for new therapeutic tools against diseases produced by kinetoplastid parasites five vanadyl complexes, [V IV O(L-2H)(phen)], including 1,10-phenanthroline (phen) and tridentate salicylaldehyde semicarbazone derivatives as ligands have been synthesized and characterized in the solid state and in solution by using different techniques. EPR suggested a distorted octahedral geometry with the tridentate semicarbazone occupying three equatorial positions and phen coordinated in an equatorial/axial mode. The compounds were evaluated in vitro on epimastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi, causative agent of Chagas disease, Leishmania panamensis and Leishmania chagasi and on tumor cells. The complexes showed higher in vitro anti-trypanosomal activities than the reference drug Nifurtimox (IC 50 values in the range 1.6-3.8 μM) and increased activities in respect to the free semicarbazone ligands. In vitro activity on promastigote and amastigote forms of Leishmania showed interesting results. The compounds [VO(L1-2H)(phen)] and [VO(L3-2H)(phen)], where L1 = 2-hydroxybenzaldehyde semicarbazone and L3 = 2-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde semicarbazone, resulted active (IC 50 2.74 and 2.75 μM, respectively, on promastigotes of L. panamensis; IC 50 19.52 and 20.75 μM, respectively, on intracellular amastigotes of L. panamensis) and showed low toxicity on THP-1 mammalian cells (IC 50 188.55 and 88.13 μM, respectively). In addition, the complexes showed cytotoxicity on human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells with IC 50 values of the same order of magnitude as cisplatin. The interaction of the complexes with DNA was demonstrated by different techniques, suggesting that this biomolecule could be a potential target either in the parasites or in tumor cells. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-312
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • Antitumoral
  • Chagas disease
  • Heteroleptic complexes
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Phenanthroline
  • Vanadyl compounds


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