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Highly-fluorescent BODIPY-functionalised metallacages as drug delivery systems: synthesis, characterisation and cellular accumulation studies

Aikman, Brech, Bonsignore, Riccardo, Woods, Ben, Doellerer, Daniel, Scotti, Riccardo, Schmidt, Claudia, Heidecker, Alexandra A., Pöthig, Alexander, Sayers, Edward J., Jones, Arwyn T. and Casini, Angela 2022. Highly-fluorescent BODIPY-functionalised metallacages as drug delivery systems: synthesis, characterisation and cellular accumulation studies. Dalton Transactions 51 (19) , pp. 7476-7490. 10.1039/D2DT00337F
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With the aim of designing new metallosupramolecular architectures for drug delivery, research has focused on porous 3-dimensional (3D)-metallacages able to encapsulate cytotoxic agents protecting them from metabolism while targeting them to cancer sites. Here, two self-assembled [Pd2L4]4+ cages (CG1 and CG2) featuring 3,5-bis(3-ethynylpyridine)phenyl ligands (L) exo-functionalised with dipyrromethene (BODIPY) groups have been synthesised and characterised by different methods, including NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. 1H NMR spectroscopy studies shows that the cages are able to encapsulate the anticancer drug cisplatin in their hydrophobic cavity, as evidenced by electrostatic potential (ESP) analysis based on XRD studies. The stability of the cages in an aqueous environment, and in the presence of the intracellular reducing agent glutathione, has been confirmed by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy. The luminescence properties of the cages enabled the investigation of their cellular uptake and intracellular localisation in human cancer cells by confocal laser scanning microscopy. In melanoma A375 cells, cage CG1 is taken up via active transport and endocytic trafficking studies show little evidence of transport through the early endosome while the cages accumulated in melanosomes rather than lysosomes. The antiproliferative activity of the lead cage was investigated in A375 together with two breast cancer cell lines, SK-BR-3 and MCF7. While the cage per se is non-cytotoxic, very different antiproliferative effects with respect to free cisplatin were evidenced for the [(cisplatin)2⊂CG1·BF4] complex in the various cell lines, which correlate with its different intracellular localisation profiles. The obtained preliminary results provide a new hypothesis on how the subcellular localisation of the cage affects the cisplatin intracellular release.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN: 1477-9226
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 19 April 2022
Last Modified: 27 May 2022 17:27

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