Cytotoxic activities of Mannich bases of chalcones and related compounds

Jonathan R. Dimmock, N. Murthi Kandepu, Mark Hetherington, J. Wilson Quail, Uma Pugazhenthi, Athena M. Sudom, Mahmood Chamankhah, Patricia Rose, Eric Pass, Theresa M. Allen, Sarah Halleran, Jen Szydlowski, Bulent Mutus, Marie Tannous, Elias Kurian Manavathu, Timothy G. Myers, Erik De Clercq, Jan Balzarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


Various Mannich bases of chalcones and related compounds displayed significant cytotoxicity toward murine P388 and L1210 leukemia cells as well as a number of human tumor cell lines. The most promising lead molecule was 21 that had the highest activity toward L1210 and human tumor cells. In addition, 21 exerted preferential toxicity to human tumor lines compared to transformed human T-lymphocytes. Other compounds of interest were 38, with a huge differential in cytotoxicity between P388 and L1210 cells, and 42, with a high therapeutic index when cytotoxicity to P388 cells and Molt 4/C8 T- lymphocytes were compared. In general, the Mannich bases were more cytotoxic than the corresponding chalcones toward L1210 but not P388 cells. A ClusCor analysis of the data obtained from the in vitro human tumor screen revealed that the mode of action of certain groups of compounds was similar. For some groups of compounds, cytotoxicity was correlated with the δ, π, or molar refractivity constants in the aryl ring attached to the olefinic group. In addition, the IC50 values in all three screens correlated with the redox potentials of a number of Mannich bases. X-ray crystallography and molecular modeling of representative compounds revealed various structural features which were considered to contribute to cytotoxicity. While a representative compound 15 was stable and unreactive toward glutathione (GSH) in buffer, the Mannich bases 15, 18, and 21 reacted with GSH in the presence of the π isozyme of glutathione S-transferase, suggesting that thiol alkylation may be one mechanism by which cytotoxicity was exerted in vitro. Representative compounds were shown to be nonmutagenic in an intrachromosomal recombination assay in yeast, devoid of antimicrobial properties and possessing anticonvulsant and neurotoxic properties. Thus Mannich bases of chalcones represent a new group of cytotoxic agents of which 21 in particular serves as an useful prototypic molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1026
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 26 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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