We recently reported the synthesis of NOSH-aspirin, a novel hybrid that releases both nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). In NOSH-aspirin, the two moieties that release NO and H2S are covalently linked at the 1, 2 positions of acetyl salicylic acid, i.e. ortho-NOSH-aspirin (o-NOSH-aspirin). In the present study, we compared the effects of the positional isomers of NOSH-ASA (o-NOSH-aspirin, m-NOSH-aspirin and p-NOSH-aspirin) to that of aspirin on growth of HT-29 and HCT 15 colon cancer cells, belonging to the same histological subtype, but with different expression of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes; HT-29 express both COX-1 and COX-2, whereas HCT 15 is COX-null. We also analyzed the effect of these compounds on proliferation and apoptosis in HT-29 cells. Since the parent compound aspirin, inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2, we also evaluated the effects of these compounds on COX-1 and COX-2 enzyme activities and also performed modeling of the interactions between the positional isomers of NOSH-aspirin and COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. We observed that the three positional isomers of NOSH aspirin inhibited the growth of both colon cancer cell lines with IC50s in the nano-molar range. In particular in HT-29 cells the IC50s for growth inhibition were: o-NOSH-ASA, 0.04±0.011 µM; m-NOSH-ASA, 0.24±0.11 µM; p-NOSH-ASA, 0.46±0.17 µM; and in HCT 15 cells the IC50s for o-NOSH-ASA, m-NOSH-ASA, and p-NOSH-ASA were 0.062 ±0.006 µM, 0.092±0.004 µM, and 0.37±0.04 µM, respectively. The IC50 for aspirin in both cell lines was >5 mM at 24 h. The reduction of cell growth appeared to be mediated through inhibition of proliferation, and induction of apoptosis. All 3 positional isomers of NOSH-aspirin preferentially inhibited COX-1 over COX-2. These results suggest that the three positional isomers of NOSH-aspirin have the same biological actions, but that o-NOSH-ASA displayed the strongest anti-neoplastic potential.
Vannini, F., Chattopadhyay, M., Kodela, R., Rao, P. P. & Kashfi, K. (2015). Positional isomerism markedly affects the growth inhibition of colon cancer cells by NOSH-aspirin: COX inhibition and modeling☆. Redox Biology, 6, 318-325. doi:10.1016/j.redox.2015.08.014.