Camptothecins (CPTs) are fluorescent compounds exhibiting anticancer activity. They can exist in two forms, a lactone and a carboxylate. In neutral and base solution, lactone forms hydrolyse and convert into carboxylates. Only the lactone forms of CPTs are biologically active. Because of strong affinity of the carboxylate form of the parent drug camptothecin to human serum albumin (HSA), this protein promotes the deactivation of this compound. On the other hand, the lactone forms of camptothecins do not hydrolyse and are stabilized when bound to membranes. The following three hydroxycamptothecins, 10-hydroxycamptothecin (10-OH-CPT), 7-ethyl-10-hydroxy-camptothecin (SN-38) and 7-tertbutyldimethylsil- 10-hydroxycamptothecin (DB-67) were studied. Factor analysis of a set of fluorescence excitation spectra recorded during lactone hydrolysis facilitated the high-throughput determination of the deactivation rates of camptothecin and each hydroxycamptothecin in phosphate buffered saline. The fluorescence spectra of hydroxycamptothecins diluted in HSA solution or suspended in DMPC liposomes were recorded, and the association constants of these drugs to membranes and plasma proteins were calculated. Among the analysed agents, DB-67 exhibited the most desirable properties including low affinity of the carboxylate form for albumin and high affinity of its lactone form for model membranes.
Keywords: Hydroxycamptothecins, fluorescence spectroscopy, membranes, human serum albumin (HSA), factor analysis
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