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Photochem Photobiol. 2015 Sep-Oct;91(5):1191-202. doi: 10.1111/php.12485. Epub 2015 Aug 8.

A Family of Potent Ru(II) Photosensitizers with Enhanced DNA Intercalation: Bimodal Photokillers.

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Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Radiation Biology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Laboratory of Cellular Immunology, Department of Microbiology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece.
Division of Physical Chemistry, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, NCSR Demokritos, Aghia Paraskevi, Greece.


A new family of Ru(II)-based photosensitizers was synthesized and systematically characterized. The ligands employed to coordinate the ruthenium metal center were the commercially available 2,2'-bipyridine and a pyridine-quinoline hybrid bearing an anthracene moiety. The complexes obtained carry either PF6- or Cl(-) counterions. These counterions determine the complexes' hydrophobic or hydrophilic character, respectively, therefore dictating their solubility in biologically related media. All photosensitizers exhibit characteristic, relatively strong and wide UV-Vis absorption spectral profiles. Their high efficiency in generating cytotoxic singlet oxygen was established (up to ΦΔ ~0.8). Moreover, the interaction of these photosensitizers with double-stranded DNA was studied fluoro- and photospectroscopically and their binding affinities were found to be of the order of 3 × 10(7)  M(-1) . All complexes are photocytotoxic to DU145 human prostate cancer cells. The highest light-induced toxicity was conferred by the photosensitizers bearing Cl(-) counterions, probably due to the looser ionic "chaperoning" of Cl(-) , in comparison to PF6-, leading to higher cell internalization.

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