The Cu(I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) is a powerful, highly reliable and selective reaction which allows for a rapid synthesis in high yields and under mild conditions (pH, temperature). However, the cytotoxicity of copper requires its complete removal prior to an application in vivo. This is an issue especially when it comes to CuAAC reactions on macromolecular structures or drug delivery systems, as copper might be retained by these systems. Thus, a quantification of the final copper content of these systems is inevitable, which we exemplified for a CuAAC reaction on liposomes using 64Cu-spiked Cu(I). In this respect, a Cu(II) nitrate solution was irradiated at the TRIGA Mark II research reactor Mainz to obtain c.a. [64Cu]Cu(II). The irradiated solution was directly used for a CuAAC on liposomes. After purification, their copper content was calculated utilizing γ-ray spectrometry. Only 0.018% of the added 64Cu-activity was still present in the liposome containing fractions after purification. This refers to a total amount of copper of 0.17 ng. The amount of retained copper is so low, that an in vivo application of the liposomes is absolutely reasonable. Besides this particular study, the experimental methodology may be applied to study many other CuAAC reactions, used for the synthesis of radiolabeled or non-radioactive species, which are intended for human applications.
The authors are very grateful to the Max-Planck Graduate Center (MPGC, K. Wagener) as well as to the DFG in the context of the SFB 1066 for financial support. K. Wagener and M. Schinnerer and M. Worm are members of the Graduate School of the SFB 1066.
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The online version of this article offers supplementary material (https://doi.org/10.1515/ract-2018-3000).
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