Development of novel anticancer drugs is inevitable to improve treatment of cancers. In this study, novel derivatives of indoline and morpholine were synthesized and tested for their cytotoxic effects on osteosarcoma and Human Embryonic Kidney cells. To characterize cytotoxicity and the mechanism of cell death, were used cytotoxicity, migration, apoptosis markers and mitochondrial calcium assays. Among the compounds tested, the indoline derivatives, generally, produced a higher cytotoxic effect compared to the morpholine derivatives, in osteosarcoma cells. Specifically, new indoline derivative N-(2-hydroxy-5-nitrophenyl(4′-methylphenyl)methyl)indoline exhibited effective cytotoxic activity, with an IC50 of ∼74 μM. The same molecule induced cell death by apoptosis and inhibited migration of the cells. Further, analysis of mitochondrial calcium levels revealed the existence of calcium dependent cell death mechanisms in different cell types. Therefore, N-(2-hydroxy-5-nitrophenyl(4′-methylphenyl)methyl)indoline can be considered as a potential drug-lead compound towards the discovery of new anti-cancer agents.
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