Studies on the structure--activity relationship among aliphatic and aromatic bisguanylhydrazones and some related compounds

Chem Biol Interact. 1977 Jan;16(1):57-68. doi: 10.1016/0009-2797(77)90153-3.


A total of 18 compounds consisting of 7 alphatic and 7 aromatic bis(guanylhydrazones), p-quinone-bis(guanylhydrazone), one monoguanylhydrazone, one diamidine and one diguanidine were studied spectrophotometrically to determine their ability to interact with native calf-thymus DNA and the possible correlation of binding with biological activity. In each case, the ability of a compound to bind to DNA correlate with its ability to inhibit the activity of DNA-dependent DNA polymerase (EC extracted from mouse leukemia L1210 cells. For example, all the aromatic bis-guanylhydrazones and diamidine (hydroxystilbamidine), which were good inhibitors of the enzyme activity, showed a biphasic interaction with DNA. All the aliphatic compounds displayed no detectable interaction with DNA in the Tris buffer used, and were also poor inhibitors of the polymerase activity. Interaction of decamethylene diguanide (Synthalin with DNA could not be determined because the compound does not absorb light in the UV-VIS region. However, in similarity with other aliphatic compounds, this agent was a poor inhibitor of DNA polymerase reduction. The p-quinone-bis(guanyl-hydrazone) and p-phenylbenzaldehyde-monoguanylhydrazone showed only a monophasic interaction with DNA and caused an intermediate inhibition of the enzyme activity. When tested for possible anti-leukemic activity against i.p. L1210 leukemia in syngeneic DBA/2J mice, all the aromatic bis-guanylhydrazones as well as hydroxystilbamidine caused prolongation of survival of tumor-bearing mice. Among the aliphatic bisguanylhydrazones, all of which showed no binding to DNA and caused at the most only a very slight inhibition of DNA polymerase, only methylglyoxal-bis(guanylhydrazone) (CH3--G) had antileukemic activity. Synthalin also inhibited leukemia growth. Evidences presented indicate that the mechanisms of action of aliphatic and aromatic bisguanylhydrazones may be quite different. Furthermore, the ability to bind to DNA may be a useful criterion to predict the antileukemic activity of aromatic guanylhydrazones and possibly other aromatic-bis-cationic compounds, but not that of aliphatic congeners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Hydrazones / metabolism
  • Hydrazones / pharmacology*
  • Leukemia L1210 / enzymology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Thymus Gland


  • Hydrazones
  • DNA