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Issue 2, 2012
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Copper complexes as therapeutic agents

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The importance of transition metals in biological processes has been well established. Copper (Cu) is a transition metal that can exist in oxidised and reduced states. This allows it to participate in redox and catalytic chemistry, making it a suitable cofactor for a diverse range of enzymes and molecules. Cu deficiency or toxicity is implicated in a variety of pathological conditions; therefore inorganic complexes of Cu have been investigated for their therapeutic and diagnostic potential. These Cu complexes have been shown to be effective in cancer treatment due to their cytotoxic action on tumour cells. Alternatively, Cu complexes can also modulate Cu homeostasis in the brain, resulting in protective effects in several models of neurodegeneration. In other diseases such as coronary heart disease and skin disease, the success of Cu complexes as potential therapeutics will most likely be due to their ability to increase SOD activity, leading to relief of oxidative stress. This review seeks to provide a broad insight into some of the diverse actions of Cu complexes and demonstrate the strong future for these compounds as potential therapeutic agents.

Graphical abstract: Copper complexes as therapeutic agents

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Article information

08 Nov 2011
05 Dec 2011
First published
20 Dec 2011

Metallomics, 2012,4, 127-138
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