Mitochondria-directed antioxidants 2-5 were designed by conjugating curcumin congeners with different polyamine motifs as vehicle tools. The conjugates emerged as efficient antioxidants in mitochondria and fibroblasts and also exerted a protecting role through heme oxygenase-1 activation. Notably, the insertion of a polyamine function into the curcumin-like moiety allowed an efficient intracellular uptake and mitochondria targeting. It also resulted in a significant decrease in the cytotoxicity effects. 2-5 are therefore promising molecules for neuroprotectant lead discovery.
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