Research Highlights

A metallic compound for cosmetic therapy

doi:10.1038/nindia.2020.118 Published online 29 July 2020

Researchers have synthesised a metallic compound that mimics the functions of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a metal-based enzyme known to protect cells by removing oxygen free radicals in the tissues of humans and other living organisms1

The compound, the researchers say, has the potential to be used in cosmetic therapy for removing superoxide radical anion, a free radical that damages cells.

In humans, SODs are essential for the prevention of various diseases. However, natural SOD levels drop as the body ages. Previous studies have shown that specific metallic compounds can mimic the activities of natural SODs, indicating their therapeutic potential. 

To find such a novel metallic compound, scientists from the Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology, the C. V. Raman College of Engineering and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, all in Odisha, India, prepared the compound through the self-assembly of imidazole-containing organic compounds in the presence of metallic compounds containing copper and palladium.

The researchers, led by Biswaranjan Paital, Himansu Sekhar Sahoo and Niladri Bihari Debdata, found that the compound could mimic the activities of natural SODs. They found that this compound’s free-radical-removing efficiency was higher than that of the SODs found in different tissues of a specific crab species, but comparable to the SOD found in chicken liver tissues.

The compound, the researchers add, has metal sites at positions similar to the SODs found in the tissues of cattle and buffaloes, enabling it to mimic the actions of natural SODs.


1. Mishra, S. et al. A discrete Cu2 (Pd-bpy) 2L2 heterometallic compound with superoxide dismutase enzyme like activity. Dalton. Trans. 49 (2020) doi: 10.1039/D0DT00920B