Effect of a Copper (II) Complex on The Induction of Apoptosis in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, Iran.

2 Pistachio Safety Research Center, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, Iran.

3 Molecular Medicine Research Center, Rafsanjan University of Medical Sciences, Rafsanjan, Iran.

4 Research Center of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran.

5 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Afzalipoor Faculty of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.


Objectives: In the present study, we aimed to identify the anti-proliferative potential of [Cu(L)(2imi)] complex
[L = 2-(((5-chloro-2-oxyphenyl)imino)methyl)phenolato) and 2imi = 2-methyl imidazole] against HepG2 cells as an
in vitro model of human hepatocellular carcinoma and normal mouse fibroblast L929 cells. Methods: The cytotoxic
and apoptotic effects of [Cu(L)(2imi)] complex on HepG2 cells and normal fibroblasts (L929) were examined by MTT
assay and flow cytometry, respectively. Results: Cytotoxicity induced by [Cu(L)(2imi)] complex was time dependent.
Also, there was a positive correlation between cytotoxicity and an increase in Cu complex concentration. For HepG2
cells, the cell viability percentage was 50% at 58 μg/mL after 24 h treatment, whereas in the same concentration and
conditions, the viability percentage was surprisingly higher (about 100%) for L929 cells. Also, after 48 h treatment,
the viability percentage of HepG2 cells at 55 μg/mL concentration was 50% in contrast with 89.3% for L929 cells in
the same conditions. Flow cytometry findings suggest that [Cu(L)(2imi)] complex is capable of decreasing cancer cell
viability through apoptosis and did not efficiently activate the necrosis process. Conclusions: Finally, we found that
[Cu(L)(2imi)] complex possess the potential for development as an anti-cancer drug for human hepatocellular carcinoma.


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