Pyrazoline is an important 5-membered nitrogen heterocycle that has been extensively researched. Ten derivatives were synthesized and tested for antileukemic effects on 2 human acute leukemia cell lines, K562 and Jurkat. The most cytotoxic of these derivatives, compound 21, was chosen
for investigation of cytotoxicity mechanisms. The results obtained with selectivity calculations revealed that compound 21 is more selective for acute leukemia (K562 and Jurkat cell lines) than for other tumor cell lines. Moreover, compound 21 was not cytotoxic to normal cell lines, indicating
a potential use in clinical tests. Compound 21 caused a significant cell cycle arrest in the S-phase in Jurkat cells and increased the proportion of cells in the sub G0/G1 phase in both cell lines. Cells treated with compound 21 demonstrated morphological changes characteristic of apoptosis
in the EB/AO assay, confirmed by externalization of phosphatidylserine by the annexin V – fluorescein isothiocyanate method and by DNA fragmentation. An investigation of cytotoxicity mechanisms suggests the involvement of an intrinsic apoptosis pathway due to mitochondrial damage and
an increase in the ratio of mitochondrial Bax/Bcl2. Pyrazoline 21 obeyed Lipinski’s “rule of five” for drug-likeness. Based on these preliminary results, the antileukemic activity of compound 21 makes it a potential anticancer agent.
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