Organometallic ciprofloxacin conjugates with dual action: synthesis, characterization, and antimicrobial and cytotoxicity studies

Konrad Kowalski, Lukasz Szczupk, Aleksandra Kowalczyk, Damian Trzybiński, Krzysztof Wozniak, Gracia Mendoza, Manuel Arruebo, Dietmar Steverding, Pawel Staczek

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The synthesis, characterization and biological activity of six bioorganometallic conjugates of ciprofloxacin with ferrocenyl, ruthenocenyl and cymantrenyl entities are described. Their antimicrobial activities were investigated against Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria and bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei. Furthermore, the morphological changes of bacterial cells upon treatment with the conjugates were examined by scanning electron microscopy. In addition, the cytotoxicity of the conjugates against tumor and normal mammalian cells was also investigated. The results showed that conjugation of an organometallic moiety can significantly enhance the antimicrobial activity of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin drug. It was found that N-alkyl cymantrenyl and ruthenocenyl ciprofloxacin conjugates were the most effective derivatives although other conjugates also showed significant antimicrobial activity. The increase in the antimicrobial activity was most likely due to two independent mechanisms of action. The first mechanism is due to the bacterial topoisomerase inhibitory activity of ciprofloxacin while the second mechanism can be attributed to the generation of reactive oxygen species caused by the organometallic moiety. The presence of two modes of action enables the conjugates to kill bacteria in their stationary growth phase and to overcome the drug resistance of S. aureus strains. In addition, the conjugates showed promising selectivity toward bacterial and parasitic cells over mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1415
Number of pages13
JournalDalton Transactions
Issue number5
Early online date10 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020

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