Copper complexes: UV biomedical behaviour

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  • Published: Jan 9, 2019
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: UV/Vis Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Copper complexes: UV biomedical behaviour

Biomedical copper


UV-Vis absorbance profiles have revealed that copper complexes mooted for biomedical applications have different profiles in different physiologically relevant media, such as water, physiological saline and intestinal-like solutions.

Researchers from the Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada and their colleagues at the University of Bucharest, Romania, have used a raft of techniques to gain new structural insights into copper complexes, their antioxidant activity and neuron compatibility. Writing in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Montreal's Ladan Esmaeili and colleagues explain how copper ions coordinated to amino acid residues in many proteins is an essential aspect of that protein's functionality. Additionally, copper complexed to free L-histidine, as [Cu(His)2], is used in the treatment of the neurodegenerative Menkes syndrome and in  cardioencephalomyopathy. It is, therefore, important to understand the behaviour in physiological media of copper complexes as well as to seek out novel copper compounds that might have useful activity.

Floating techniques

The team coordinated copper(II) with four small ligands, l-serine, l-histidine, urea and biuret, as part of this effort. They used elemental composition tests, X-ray diffraction, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to show that the complexes have the form [Cu(ligand)2] and exhibit tridentate (l-histidine), bidentate (l-serine and biuret) or monodentate (urea) coordination with the metal ion. Moreover, UV–Vis absorbance and cyclic voltammetry showed how these complexes behave in different media. They were stable in all but simulated gastric fluid

The team showed that all of their experimental copper complexes had antioxidant capacity when tested against DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2,2-picrylhydrazyl) and DPD (N,N-diethyl-p-phenylenediamine) ; with the [Cu(His)2Cl2] complex being the most potent. In testing neuronal compatibility using cell viability measurements with cultured mouse neurons , the team found that [Cu(His)2Cl2] has good neurocompatibility (about 90% at concentrations up to 200 micromolar. However, the cytotoxicity of the other copper complexes was lower compared to equivalent concentrations of copper chloride.

Therapeutic potential

"These findings open new perspectives for the use of these copper complexes as antioxidants and possibly as therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases," the team reports. They add that the same complexes might also be used in chelation therapy for disorders involving copper dysfunction, such as Wilson's disease.

Related Links

J Inorg Biochem 2019, online: "Copper complexes for biomedical applications: Structural insights, antioxidant activity and neuron compatibility"

Article by David Bradley

The views represented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

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