Toward the Optimization of Dinitrosyl Iron Complexes as Therapeutics for Smooth Muscle Cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this study, dinitrosyl iron complexes (DNICs) are shown to deliver nitric oxide (NO) into the cytosol of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs), which play a major role in vascular relaxation and contraction. Malfunction of SMCs can lead to hypertension, asthma, and erectile dysfunction, among other disorders. For comparison of the five DNIC derivatives, the following protocols were examined: (a) the Griess assay to detect nitrite (derived from NO conversion) in the absence and presence of SMCs; (b) the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2 H-tetrazolium (MTS) assay for cell viability; (c) an immunotoxicity assay to establish if DNICs stimulate immune response; and (d) a fluorometric assay to detect intracellular NO from treatment with DNICs. Dimeric Roussin's red ester (RRE)-type {Fe(NO)2}9 complexes containing phenylthiolate bridges, [(-SPh)Fe(NO)2]2 or SPhRRE, were found to deliver NO with the lowest effect on cell toxicity (i.e., highest IC50). In contrast, the RRE-DNIC with the biocompatible thioglucose moiety, [(-SGlu)Fe(NO)2]2 (SGlu = 1-thio--d-glucose tetraacetate) or SGluRRE, delivered a higher concentration of NO to the cytosol of SMCs with a 10-fold decrease in IC50. Additionally, monomeric DNICs stabilized by a bulky N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC), namely, 1,3-bis(2,4,6-trimethylphenyl)imidazolidene (IMes), were synthesized and yielded the DNIC complexes SGluNHC, [IMes(SGlu)Fe(NO)2], and SPhNHC, [IMes(SPh)Fe(NO)2]. These oxidized {Fe(NO)2}9 NHC DNICs have an IC50 of 7 M; however, the NHC-based complexes did not transfer NO into the SMC. Per contra, the reduced, mononuclear {Fe(NO)2}10 neocuproine-based DNIC, neoDNIC, depressed the viability of the SMCs, as well as generated an increase of intracellular NO. Regardless of the coordination environment or oxidation state, all DNICs showed a dinitrosyl iron unit (DNIU)-dependent increase in viability. This study demonstrates a structure-function relationship between the DNIU coordination environment and the efficacy of the DNIC treatments.

published proceedings

  • Mol Pharm

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Pectol, D. C., Khan, S., Chupik, R. B., Elsabahy, M., Wooley, K. L., Darensbourg, M. Y., & Lim, S.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Pectol, D Chase||Khan, Sarosh||Chupik, Rachel B||Elsabahy, Mahmoud||Wooley, Karen L||Darensbourg, Marcetta Y||Lim, Soon-Mi

publication date

  • July 2019