Structurally Simple Osmium(II) Polypyridyl Complexes as Photosensitizers for Photodynamic Therapy in the Near Infrared

09 December 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Five osmium(II) polypyridyl complexes of the general formula [Os(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline)2L]2+ were synthesized as photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy by varying the nature of the ligand L. Thanks to the pronounced π-extended structure of the ligands and the heavy atom effect provided by the osmium center, these complexes exhibit a high absorption in the near infrared (NIR) region (up to 740 nm), unlike related ruthenium complexes. This led to promising phototoxicity in vitro against cancer cells cultured as 2D cell layers but also in multicellular tumor spheroids upon irradiation at 740 nm. The complex [Os(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline)2(2,2’-bipyridine)]2+ was found to be the most efficient against various cancer cell lines, with high phototoxicity indexes. Experiments on CT26 tumor-bearing BALB/c mice also indicate that the Os(II) complexes could significantly reduce tumor growth under 740 nm laser irradiation. The high phototoxicity in the biological window of this structurally simple complex makes it a promising photosensitizer for cancer treatment.


Bioinorganic Chemistry
Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry
Photodynamic Therapy


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