Three types of water-soluble fullerene derivatives were synthesized and their biological activities were investigated. C60-dimalonic acid, an anionic fullerene derivative, showed antioxidant activity such as quenching of superoxide and relief from growth inhibition of E. coli by paraquat. C 60-bis(7V,7V-dimethylpyrrolidinium iodide), a cationic fullerene derivative, has antibacterial activity and antiproliferative effect on cancer cell lines. The mechanism is suggested to be respiratory chain inhibition by reactive oxygen species produced by the cationic fullerene derivative. Proline-type fullerene derivatives showed strong inhibition activities on HIV-reverse transcriptase. The IC50 values were remarkably lower than nevirapine, a clinically used anti-HIV drug. Fullerene derivatives have a big potential for a new type of lead compound to be used as medicine.
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