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Org Biomol Chem. 2007 Nov 21;5(22):3599-613. Epub 2007 Oct 2.

Water solubility, antioxidant activity and cytochrome C binding of four families of exohedral adducts of C60 and C70.

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The Institut für Organische Chemie, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Henkestrasse 42, Erlangen, Germany.


Over the past decade, surface-modified, water soluble fullerenes have been shown by many different investigators to exhibit strong antioxidant activity against reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vitro and to protect cells and tissues from oxidative injury and cell death in vivo. Nevertheless, progress in developing fullerenes as bona fide drug candidates has been hampered by three development issues: 1) lack of methods for scalable synthesis; 2) inability to produce highly purified, single-species regioisomers compatible with pharmaceutical applications; and 3) inadequate understanding of structure-function relationships with respect to various surface modifications (e.g., anionic versus cationic versus charge-neutral polarity). To address these challenges, we have designed and synthesized more than a dozen novel water soluble fullerenes that can be purified as single isomers and which we believe can be manufactured to scale at reasonable cost. These compounds differ in addition pattern, lipophilicity and number and type of charge and were examined for their water solubility, antioxidant activity against superoxide anions and binding of cytochrome C. Our results indicate that dendritic water soluble fullerene[60] monoadducts exhibit the highest degree of antioxidant activity against superoxide anions in vitro as compared with trismalonate-derived anionic fullerenes as well as cationic fullerenes of similar overall structure. Among the higher adducts, anionic derivatives have a higher antioxidant activity than comparable cationic compounds. To achieve sufficient water solubility without the aid of a surfactant or co-solvent at least three charges on the addends are required. Significantly, anionic in contrast to cationic fullerene adducts bind with high affinity to cytochrome C.

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