Fullerene derivatives: an attractive tool for biological applications

Eur J Med Chem. Nov-Dec 2003;38(11-12):913-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2003.09.005.


The fullerene family, and especially C60, has very appealing photo-, electro-chemical and physical properties, which can be exploited in many and different biological fields. Fullerene is able to fit inside the hydrophobic cavity of HIV proteases, inhibiting the access of substrates to the catalytic site of the enzyme. It can be used as radical scavenger; in fact some water-soluble derivatives are able to reduce ROS concentrations. At the same time, if exposed to light, fullerene can produce singlet oxygen in high quantum yields. This action, together with the direct electron transfer from excited state of fullerene and DNA bases, can be used to cleave DNA. In this review we report the most recent aspects of fullerene biological applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Fullerenes / chemistry*
  • Fullerenes / pharmacology
  • Fullerenes / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy


  • Antioxidants
  • Fullerenes
  • fullerene C60