The influence of bisnaphthalimidopropyl polyamines on DNA instability and repair in Caco-2 colon epithelial cells

Charles Stuart Bestwick, Lynda D. Ralton, Lesley Milne, Paul Kong Thoo Lin, Susan J. Duthie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Bisnaphthalimido compounds bis-intercalate to DNA via the major groove and are potentially potent cancer therapeutics. Previously, we incorporated natural polyamines as linkers connecting the two naphthalimido ring moieties to create a series of soluble bisnaphthalimidopropyl polyamines (BNIPPs). Here, extending earlier work on bisnaphthalimidopropylspermidine (BNIPSpd)-induced apoptosis in colon adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells, we compare the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of BNIPSpd relative to the spermine and oxaspermine derivatives, bisnaphthalimidopropylspermine (BNIPSpm) and bisnaphthalimidopropyloxaspermine (BNIPOSpm). The order of cytotoxicity after 24 h was BNIPSpd (IC50=0.47 mu M)>BNIPSpm (IC50=10.04 mu M)>BNIPOSpm (IC50 >50 mu M). After a 72-h BNIPOSpm exposure, an IC50=10.25 mu M was achieved. With 4-h exposure to BNIPSpd or BNIPSpm or 12-h exposure to BNIPOSpm, concentrations >= 1 mu M induced a significant dose-dependent increase in DNA damage as measured by alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis. The longer incubation times required for BNIPOSpm to induce DNA strand breaks reflect a slower rate of BNIPOSpm cellular distribution as monitored via BNIPP fluorescence within the cells. Moreover, exposure to a non-genotoxic concentration of BNIPSpd, BNIPSpm (0.1 mu M for 4 h) or BNIPOSpm (0.1 mu M for 12 h) induced a significant decrease in repair of oxidative DNA damage induced by hydrogen peroxide. In conclusion, BNIPP exposure in Caco-2 cells is associated with significant induction of DNA damage and inhibition of DNA repair at non-genotoxic concentrations. The latter is a novel consequence of BNIPP-cell interactions which adds to the spectrum of therapeutically relevant activities that may be exploited for the design and development of naphthalimide-based therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
JournalCell Biology and Toxicology
Issue number6
Early online date13 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • bisnaphthalimides
  • bisnaphthalimidopropyl polyamines
  • cytotoxicity
  • chemotherapy
  • DNA damage
  • DNA repair
  • antitumor agents
  • topoisomerase-II
  • breast-cancer
  • in-vitro
  • Biological evaluation
  • binding properties
  • phase-II
  • derivatives
  • damage
  • naphthalimide


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