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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 915130, 13 pages
Research Article

Effects of Two Fullerene Derivatives on Monocytes and Macrophages

1Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Via L. Giorgieri 5, 34127 Trieste, Italy
2Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Trieste, Via L. Giorgieri 5, 34127 Trieste, Italy
3Callerio Foundation, Institutes of Biological Research, Via A. Fleming 22-31, 34127 Trieste, Italy

Received 27 June 2014; Revised 10 September 2014; Accepted 24 September 2014

Academic Editor: Amitava Mukherjee

Copyright © 2015 Sabrina Pacor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Two fullerene derivatives (fullerenes 1 and 2), bearing a hydrophilic chain on the pyrrolidinic nitrogen, were developed with the aim to deliver anticancer agents to solid tumors. These two compounds showed a significantly different behaviour on human neoplastic cell lines in vitro in respect to healthy leukocytes. In particular, the pyrrolidinium ring on the fullerene carbon cage brings to a more active compound. In the present work, we describe the effects of these fullerenes on primary cultures of human monocytes and macrophages, two kinds of immune cells representing the first line of defence in the immune response to foreign materials. These compounds are not recognized by circulating monocytes while they get into macrophages. The evaluation of the pronecrotic or proapoptotic effects, analysed by means of analysis of the purinergic receptor P2X7 activation and of ROS scavenging activity, has allowed us to show that fullerene 2, but not its analogue fullerene 1, displays toxicity, even though at concentrations higher than those shown to be active on neoplastic cells.