Antioxidant therapies have been considered for a wide variety of disorders associated with oxidative stress, and synthetic catalytic scavengers of reactive oxygen species would be clinically superior to stoichiometric ones. Among them, salen-manganese complexes (Mn(Salen)) seem promising, because they exhibit dual functions, i.e. superoxide dismutase- and catalase-mimetic activities. We have been developing enzyme-mimetic Mn(Salen) complexes bearing a functional group that enhances their catalytic activity. Here, we describe the design and synthesis of novel Mn(Salen) complexes with general acid-base catalytic functionality, inspired by the reaction mechanism of catalase. As expected, these Mn(Salen) complexes showed superior catalase-like activity and selectivity, while retaining moderate SOD-like activity. An unsubstituted pyridyl group worked well as a functionality to promote catalase-like activity. The introduced functionality did not alter the redox potential suggesting that the auxiliary-modified complex acted as an acid-base catalyst analogous to catalase. We believe that our approach provides a new design principle for sophisticated catalyst design. Further, the compounds described here appear to be good candidates for use in antioxidant therapy.
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