The facile and additive-free synthesis of a cell-friendly iron(iii)–glutathione complex†
The straightfoward creation of an unreported glutathione-stabilised iron(III) complex is disclosed. In contrast to previous reports, glutathione was shown to coordinate and stabilise iron directly under physiological conditions in the absence of additional sulfur containing molecules, such as sodium sulfide. The complex was extensively characterised; the molecular geometry was determined as two inequivalent octahedra, approximately 2/3 of which are slightly distorted towards more tetrahedral in character, with the remaining 1/3 more regularly octahedral. The dispersion of the iron(III)–glutathione complex in aqueous solution yielded particles of 255 ± 4 nm in diameter that enhanced the growth and proliferation of L929 fibroblast cells over 7 days, and inhibited the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-13. Consequently, the unprecedented glutathione-stabilised iron(III) complex disclosed has potential use as a simple-to-prepare growth factor for inclusion within cell culture media, and is an excellent candidate as a therapeutic for the treatment of metalloproteinase-13-associated diseases.