Metal complexes of the type [Ni(LC)(2)(X)(2)], 1 and 2, [Co(LC)(2)(X)(2)], 3 and 4 (LC: lidocaine, X = dca (dicyanamide), 1 and 3, X = NCS-, 2 and 4) have been synthesized and characterized. The geometries of 1 -4 were confirmed by single crystal X-ray crystallography. The complexes are water soluble and stable in aqueous solution. The interaction of 1-4 with calf thymus. DNA (CF DNA) and bovine serum albumin (BSA) was investigated using UV-visible and fluorescence spectrophotometric methods. A gel electrophoresis assay demonstrated that the complexes cleave pUC19 plasmid DNA. The in vitro free radical scavenging, antimicrobial activity and cytotoxic potential of all the complexes were examined. (C) 2015 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.