Evaluation of trypanocidal properties of ferrocenyl and cyrhetrenyl N-acylhydrazones with pendant 5-nitrofuryl group

Patricia M. Toro, Francisco Peralta, Juan Oyarzo, Shane R. Wilkinson, Mónica Zavala, Rodrigo Arancibia, Mauricio Moncada-Basualto, Iván Brito, Jonathan Cisterna, A. Hugo Klahn, Concepción López

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Four N-acylhydrazones of general formulae [R1-C(O)-NH-N=C(R2)(5-nitrofuryl)] with (R1 = ferrocenyl or cyrhetrenyl and R2 = H or Me) are synthesized and characterized in solution and in the solid-state. Comparative studies of their stability in solution under different experimental conditions and their electrochemical properties are reported. NMR studies reveal that the four compounds are stable in DMSO‑d6 and complementary UV–Vis studies confirm that they also exhibit high stability in mixtures DMSO:H2O at 37 °C. Electrochemical studies show that the half-wave potential of the nitro group of the N-acylhydrazones is smaller than that of the standard drug nifurtimox and the reduction process follows a self-protonation mechanism. In vitro studies on the antiparasitic activities of the four complexes and the nifurtimox against Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei reveal that: i) the N-acylhydrazones have a potent inhibitory growth activity against both parasites [EC50 in the low micromolar (in T. cruzi) or even in the nanomolar (in T. brucei) range] and ii) cyrhetrenyl derivatives are more effective than their ferrocenyl analogs. Parallel studies on the L6 rat skeletal myoblast cell line have also been conducted, and the selectivity indexes determined. Three of the four N-acylhydrazones showed higher selectivity towards T. brucei than the standard drug nifurtimox. Additional studies suggest that the organometallic compounds are bioactivated by type I nitroreductase enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111428
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Cyrhetrenyl N-acylhydrazones
  • Ferrocenyl N-acylhydrazones
  • Trypanocidal compounds
  • Type I nitroreductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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