Urea complexes: NMR examination and more

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  • Published: Mar 1, 2019
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: NMR Knowledge Base
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Analytical raft

A whole raft of techniques including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy have been used to analyse and characterise two synthesised complexes of zinc and nickel with the urea derivative, 2-benzimidazolyl-urea (BZIMU). The compounds show promised against cancer cell lines in the laboratory as well as antibacterial activity.

A whole raft of techniques including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy have been used to analyse and characterise two synthesised complexes of zinc and nickel with the urea derivative, 2-benzimidazolyl-urea (BZIMU). The compounds show promised against cancer cell lines in the laboratory as well as antibacterial activity.

Chemists Christina N. Banti and Sotiris K. Hadjikakou of the University of Ioannina, in Ioannina, Greece, and their colleagues there and at Afyon Kocatepe Universityin Afyonkarahisar and Gazi University Besevler, in Ankara, Turkey, explain in the journal Molecular Diversity the properties and characteristics of two small molecule complexes with pharmaceutical potential. They synthesized the two compounds and characterized them by their melting point, elemental analysis, spectroscopic techniques including, proton NMR, Fourier-transform infrared and Ultraviolet-Visible. They also carried out high-resolution mass spectroscopy (HRMS), molar conductivity and thermogravimetric analysis as well as a crystal structure determination using X-ray diffraction analysis.

Bacterial damage and cancer DNA

The researchers point out that there have been recent reports that show some bacteria can cause DNA double-stranded breakages in breast cancer patients. Various bacteria, Bacillus species, members of the Enterobacteriaceae family and Staphylococcus species seem to preponderate, the team reports. "The correlation between the antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities of new metallodrugs is of great interest. A strong antimicrobial activity may be considered as an added value in an anticancer metallodrug," the team suggests.

There are many metallodrugs that have been synthesized and tested for various applications during the last decade or so. The ability of such drugs to target DNA has been a significant focus. Zinc(II) ions in particular are of interest as they feature in more than 3000 known enzymes. Zinc complexes can bind DNA, are known to be radioprotective, they can sensitize tumours to light therapy, they have antidiabetic and insulinomimetic properties, and also act as antibacterial agents. Critically, they have low toxicity and few side effects and so might offer a new approach to cancer chemotherapy given this and the link between bacterial activity and certain cancers.

Metallodrugs

As such the team turned its attention to benzimidazole derivatives already known as drug scaffolds with various physiological activities and looked at whether or not novel complexes with zinc of earlier platinum and silver complexes of BZIMU might be useful. Tests on the two complexes synthesized by the team against tested for their in vitro antiproliferative activity against human adenocarcinoma: cervix (HeLa) and breast (MCF-7) cells were successfully carried out. The team also examined toxicity against non-cancer cells and bacterial cells. The properties and their analytical behaviour point to a theoretical mode of action as well as to insights that might emerge for copper analogues and the use of other metal ions in such putative drugs. One thing that could not be concluded though was whether or not the antibacterial properties correlated with the anti-proliferative properties.

Related Links

Mol. Divers. 2019, online: "The periodic table of urea derivative: small molecules of zinc(II) and nickel(II) of diverse antimicrobial and antiproliferative applications"

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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