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Chem Asian J. 2012 Dec;7(12):2888-94. doi: 10.1002/asia.201200640. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

A host-guest supramolecular complex with photoregulated delivery of nitric oxide and fluorescence imaging capacity in cancer cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Photochemistry, Department of Drug Sciences, University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, I-95125 Catania, Italy.


Herein we report the design, preparation, and properties of a supramolecular system based on a tailored nitric oxide (NO) photodonor and a rhodamine-labeled β-cyclodextrin conjugate. The combination of spectroscopic and photochemical experiments shows the absence of significant interchromophoric interactions between the host and the guest in the excited states. As a result, the complex is able to release NO under the exclusive control of visible light, as unambiguously demonstrated by direct detection of this transient species through an amperometric technique, and exhibits the typical red fluorescence of the rhodamine appendage. The supramolecular complex effectively internalizes in HeLa cancer cells as proven by fluorescence microscopy, shows a satisfactory biocompatibility in the dark, and induces about 50% of cell mortality upon irradiation with visible light. The convergence of all these properties in one single complex makes the present host-guest ensemble an appealing candidate for further delevopment of photoactivatable nanoscaled systems addressed to photostimulated NO-based therapy.

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