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Evans C, Ahmed M, Beirne DF, McCann M, Kavanagh K, Devereux M, Rooney D, Heaney F. Synthesis, characterisation, and solution behaviour of Ag(I) bis(phenanthroline-oxazine) complexes and the evaluation of their biological activity against the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. Biometals. 2023 Jun 28.

doi: 10.1007/s10534-023-00513-w.


Three Ag(I) bis(phenanthroline-oxazine) complexes with varying lipophilicity were synthesised and characterised. The solution stoichiometry of 1:2 Ag(I):ligand was determined for each complex by the continuous variation Job's plot method using NMR spectroscopy. NMR studies were also carried out to investigate the fluxional behaviour of the Ag(I) complexes in solution. The biological activity of the silver(I) complexes and the corresponding ligands towards a clinical strain of Candida albicans MEN was studied using broth microdilution assays. Testing showed the choice of media and the duration of incubation were key determinants of the inhibitory behaviour towards Candida albicans, however, the difference between freshly prepared and pre-prepared solutions was insignificant in minimal media. The activity of the metal-free ligands correlated with the length of the alkyl chain. In minimal media, the methyl ester phenanthroline-oxazine ligand was effective only at 60 μM, limiting growth to 67% of the control, while a 60 μM dose of the propyl ester analogue limited fungal growth at < 20% of the control. MIC50 and MIC80 values for the propyl and hexyl ester analogues were calculated to be 45 and 59 µM (propyl), and 18 and 45 µM (hexyl). Moreover, in a study of activity as a function of time it was observed that the hexyl ester ligand maintained its activity for longer than the methyl and propyl analogues; after 48 h a 60 μM dose held fungal growth at 24% of that of the control. Complexation to Ag(I) was much more effective in enhancing biological activity of the ligands than was increasing the ester chain length. Significantly no difference in activity between the three silver(I) complexes was observed under the experimental conditions. All three complexes were substantially more active than their parent ligands against Candida albicans and AgClO4 and the three silver(I) bis(phen-oxazine) complexes have MIC80 values of < 15 μM. The ability of the silver(I) complexes to hold fungal growth at about 20% of the control even after 48 h incubation at low dosages (15 μM) showcases their superiority over the simple silver(I) perchlorate salt, which ceased to be effective at dosages below 60 μM at the extended time point.



GOIPG/2020/1448/Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Award

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