Abstract. The reaction of propargylamines with isothiocyanates results in the selective formation of iminothiazolidines, aminothiazolines or mixed thiazolidine–thiourea compounds under mild conditions. It has been observed that secondary propargylamines lead to the selective formation of cyclic 2-amino-2-thiazoline derivatives, while primary propargylamines form iminothiazoline species. In addition, these cyclic thiazoline derivatives can further react with an excess of isothiocyanate to give rise to thiazolidine–thiourea compounds. These species can also be achieved by reaction of propargylamines with isothiocynates in a molar ratio of 1 : 2. Coordination studies of these heterocyclic species towards silver and gold with different stoichiometries have been carried out and complexes of the type [ML(PPh3)]OTf, [ML2]OTf (M = Ag, Au) or [Au(C6F5)L] have been synthesised. Preliminary studies of the cytotoxic activity in lung cancer cells have also been performed in both ligands and complexes, showing that although the ligands do not exhibit anticancer activity, their coordination to metals, especially silver, greatly enhances the cytotoxic activity.
Abstract. 1,4-Dihydropyridine is a privileged scaffold present in many bioactive molecules, from coenzymes to commercially available drugs. Among other interesting properties, it has been found good anticancer activity in some of these 1,4-DHPs, therefore many research groups are trying to develop new compounds based on this structural core.
For this purpose, in this work, a new family of 23 1,4-dihydropyridines has been synthesized using hydrazide and malononitrile derivatives as precursors. This straightforward catalytic process has given rise to the desired products with moderate to excellent yields. All the compounds have been tested against four different cancer cell lines [HeLa (human cervical carcinoma), Jurkat (leukemia), A549 (human lung cancer) and MIA PaCa-2 (pancreatic cancer)] to establish a preliminary structure-activity relationship. From this study, and among the best candidates, we chose 4-chlorophenyl and 4-thifluoromethylphenyl derivatives in the malononitrile ring to synthesize a second generation of molecules with enhanced cytotoxicity, modifying the substituent in the N-heterocyclic position (acylhydrazine moieties). With this second generation of compounds, we successfully decreased the IC50 until 7 µM.
An in-depth analysis of their biological properties suggests that these promising compounds trigger a non-conventional cell death mechanism known as paraptosis. Moreover, the tested photophysical properties of these products show in some cases an interesting long wavelength emission and excitation, potentially leading to new biosensors or theragnostic agents.
Finally, in vivo assays concerning the acute toxicity in mice of two of the most active compounds (with an alkyl chain of seven carbon atoms in the acylhydrazine moiety) demonstrated that even dosed at thousands fold the corresponding IC50 values (2500 and 3300 times more concentrated than the IC50 values for the two compounds studied), there was no sign of harmful effects to the tested subjects, results that support their use in further studies to discover new anticancer drugs.
Keywords. cancer; hydrazide; 1,4-dihydropyridine; in vitro; in vivo (mice); paraptosis; theranostic