2015 Volume 40 Issue 3 Pages 321-327
Organic-inorganic hybrid molecules, which are composed of an organic structure and metal(s), are indispensable for synthetic chemical reactions; however, their toxicity has been incompletely understood. In the present study, we discovered two cytotoxic organobismuth compounds whose cytotoxicity diminished upon replacement of the intramolecular bismuth atom with an antimony atom. The intracellular accumulation of the organobismuth compounds was much higher than that of the organoantimony compounds with the corresponding organic structures. We also showed that both the organic structure and bismuth atom are required for certain organobismuth compounds to exert their cytotoxic effect, suggesting that the cytotoxicity of such a compound is a result of an interaction between the organic structure and the bismuth atom. The present data suggest that organobismuth compounds with certain molecular structures exhibit cytotoxicity via an interaction between the molecular structure and the bismuth atom, and this cytotoxicity can be diminished by replacing the bismuth atom with an antimony atom, resulting in lower intracellular accumulation.