Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 73–86

Characterization of the cell growth inhibitory effects of a novel DNA-intercalating bipyridyl-thiourea-Pt(II) complex in cisplatin-sensitive and—resistant human ovarian cancer cells

  • Gaetano Marverti
  • Alessio Ligabue
  • Monica Montanari
  • Davide Guerrieri
  • Matteo Cusumano
  • Maria Letizia Di Pietro
  • Leonarda Troiano
  • Elena Di Vono
  • Stefano Iotti
  • Giovanna Farruggia
  • Federica Wolf
  • Maria Giuseppina Monti
  • Chiara Frassineti


The cellular effects of a novel DNA-intercalating agent, the bipyridyl complex of platinum(II) with diphenyl thiourea, [Pt(bipy)(Ph2-tu)2]Cl2, has been analyzed in the cisplatin (cDDP)—sensitive human ovarian carcinoma cell line, 2008, and its—resistant variant, C13* cells, in which the highest accumulation and cytotoxicity was found among six related bipyridyl thiourea complexes. We also show here that this complex causes reactive oxygen species to form and inhibits topoisomerase II activity to a greater extent in the sensitive than in the resistant line. The impairment of this enzyme led to DNA damage, as shown by the comet assay. As a consequence, cell cycle distribution has also been greatly perturbed in both lines. Morphological analysis revealed deep cellular derangement with the presence of cellular masses, together with increased membrane permeability and depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane. Some of these effects, sometimes differentially evident between the two cell lines, might also be related to the decrease of total cell magnesium content caused by this thiourea complex both in sensitive and resistant cells, though the basal content of this ion was higher in the cDDP-resistant line. Altogether these results suggest that this compound exerts its cytotoxicity by mechanisms partly mediated by the resistance phenotype. In particular, cDDP-sensitive cells were affected mostly by impairing topoisomerase II activity and by increasing membrane permeability and the formation of reactive oxygen species; conversely, mitochondrial impairment appeared to play the most important role in the action of complex F in resistant cells.


Cisplatin-resistance DNA intercalators Ovarian cancer cells Topoisomerase II Mg2+ content 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaetano Marverti
    • 1
  • Alessio Ligabue
    • 1
  • Monica Montanari
    • 1
  • Davide Guerrieri
    • 1
  • Matteo Cusumano
    • 2
  • Maria Letizia Di Pietro
    • 2
  • Leonarda Troiano
    • 1
  • Elena Di Vono
    • 1
  • Stefano Iotti
    • 3
  • Giovanna Farruggia
    • 4
  • Federica Wolf
    • 5
  • Maria Giuseppina Monti
    • 1
  • Chiara Frassineti
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Sezione di Chimica BiologicaUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Chimica Inorganica, Chimica Analitica e Chimica FisicaUniversità di MessinaMessinaItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Medicina Internadell’Invecchiamento e Malattie Nefrologiche, Università di Bologna, Via Massarenti 9BolognaItaly
  4. 4.Dipartimento di Biochimica “G. Moruzzi”Università di BolognaBolognaItaly
  5. 5.Istituto di Patologia Generale, Facoltà di MedicinaUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreRomaItaly

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