Einrem RF, et al. ACS Omega 2020.
A set of rhenium(V)-oxo meso-triarylcorroles bearing ester and carboxylic acid functionalities were synthesized with a view to determining their potential for photodynamic therapy. Toward this end, we measured their near-IR phosphorescence and their ability to sensitize singlet oxygen formation. The two esters studied, ReVO 5,10,15-tris(meta-carbomethoxyphenyl)corrole and ReVO 5,10,15-tris(para-carbomethoxyphenyl)corrole, were found to exhibit phosphorescence quantum yields of around 1% and fairly long phosphorescence lifetimes of about 60 μs in toluene. The corresponding carboxylic acids, which were examined in ethanolic/aqueous media, in contrast, showed much lower phosphorescence quantum yields on the order of 0.01% and somewhat shorter phosphorescent lifetimes. The quantum yields for singlet oxygen formation, on the other hand, turned out to be equally high (0.72 ± 0.02) for the esters and corresponding carboxylic acids. For the two carboxylic acids, we also carried out photocytotoxicity measurements on rat bladder cancer cells (AY27) and human colon carcinoma cells (WiDr). Cell viability measurements (MTT assays) indicated 50% cell death (LD50) for AY27 cells upon 5 min of blue light exposure with the meta carboxylic acid and upon 7 min of exposure with the para carboxylic acid; complete cell death resulted after 20 min for both compounds. The WiDr cells proved less sensitive, and LD50 values were reached after 8 and 12 min illumination with the meta and para carboxylic acids, respectively.