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Pyrrolizines as Potential Anticancer Agents: Design, Synthesis, Caspase-3 activation and Micronucleus (MN) Induction

[ Vol. 18 , Issue. 15 ]


Amany Belal*   Pages 2124 - 2130 ( 7 )


Background: For further exploration of the promising pyrrolizine scaffold and in continuation of our previous work, that proved the potential anticancer activity of the hit compound I, a new series of pyrrolizines 2-5 and 7-9 were designed and synthesized.

Methods: Structures of the new compounds were confirmed by IR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR and elemental analysis. Antitumor activity for the prepared compounds against human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), liver (HEPG2) and colon (HCT116) cancer cell lines was evaluated using SRB assay method.

Result: Compounds 2, 3 and 5 were the most potent on colon cancer cells, their IC50 values were less than 5 µM. Compounds 2, 3 and 8 were the most potent on liver cancer cells, their IC50 values were less than 10 µM. As for MCF7, compounds 2, 7, 8 and 9 were the most active with IC50 values less than 10 µM. We can conclude that combining pyrrolizine scaffold with urea gave abroad spectrum anticancer agent 2 against the three tested cell lines. Micronucleus assays showed that compounds 2, 3, 8 are mutagenic and can induce apoptosis. In addition, caspase-3 activation was evaluated and compound 2 showed increase in the level of caspase-3 (9 folds) followed by 3 (8.28 folds) then 8 (7.89 folds).

Conclusion: The obtained results encourage considering these three compounds as novel anticancer prototypes.


Pyrrolizine, uridopyrrolizine, pyrimidopyrrolizine, anticancer, caspase-3, micronucleus.


Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department, College of Pharmacy, Taif University, Taif 21974

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