Hypoxia-targeting copper bis(selenosemicarbazone) complexes: Comparison with their sulfur analogues

Thomas C. Castle, Richard I. Maurer, Frank E. Sowrey, Michael J. Went, Christopher A. Reynolds, Eric J.L. McInnes, Philip J. Blower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The first copper bis(selenosemicarbazone) complexes have been synthesized, using the ligands glyoxal bis(selenosemicarbazone), pyruvaldehyde bis(selenosemicarbazone), and 2,3-butanedione bis-(selenosemicarbazone). Their spectroscopic properties indicate that they are structurally analogous to their well-known square-planar sulfur-containing counterparts, the copper bis(thiosemicarbazone) complexes. Spectroscopic comparison of the sulfur- and selenium-containing complexes provides insight into their electronic structure. The effects on spectroscopic and redox properties of replacing sulfur with selenium, and of successive addition of methyl groups to the ligand backbone, are rationalized in terms of their electronic structure using spin-unrestricted density functional calculations. These suggest that, like the sulfur analogues, the complexes have a very low-lying empty ligand-based π-orbital immediately above the LUMO, while the LUMO itself has dx2-y2 character (i.e., is the spin partner of the HOMO). Replacement of S by Se shifts the oxidation potentials much more than the reduction potentials, whereas alkylation of the ligand backbone shifts the reduction potentials more than the oxidation potentials. This suggests that oxidation and reduction involve spatially different orbitals, with the additional electron in the reduced species occupying the ligand-based π-orbital rather than dx2-y2. Density functional calculations on the putative singlet Cu(I)-reduced species suggest that this ligand π-character could be brought about by distortion away from planarity during reduction, allowing the low-lying ligand π-LUMO to mix into the dx2-y2-based HOMO. The analogy in the structure and reduction behavior between the sulfur- and selenium-containing complexes suggests that labeled with positron emitting isotopes of copper (Cu-60, Cu-62, Cu-64), the complexes warrant biological evaluation as radiopharmaceuticals for imaging of tissue perfusion and hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10040-10049
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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