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Issue 2, 2009
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Effect of zinc insertion and hydrophobicity on the membrane interactions and PDT activity of porphyrin photosensitizers

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Abstract

A series of photosensitizers (PS), which are meso-substituted tetra-cationic porphyrins, was synthesized in order to study the role of amphiphilicity and zinc insertion in photodynamic therapy (PDT) efficacy. Several properties of the PS were evaluated and compared within the series including photophysical properties (absorption spectra, fluorescence quantum yield Φf, and singlet oxygen quantum yield ΦΔ), uptake by vesicles, mitochondria and HeLa cells, dark and phototoxicity in HeLa cells. The photophysical properties of all compounds are quite similar (Φf≤ 0.02; ΦΔ∼ 0.8). An increase in lipophilicity and the presence of zinc in the porphyrin ring result in higher vesicle and cell uptake. Binding in mitochondria is dependent on the PS lipophilicity and on the electrochemical membrane potential, i.e., in uncoupled mitochondria PS binding decreases by up to 53%. The porphyrin substituted with octyl groups (TC8PyP) is the compound that is most enriched in mitochondria, and its zinc derivative (ZnTC8PyP) has the highest global uptake. The stronger membrane interaction of the zinc-substituted porphyrins is attributed to a complexing effect with phosphate groups of the phospholipids. Zinc insertion was also shown to decrease the interaction with isolated mitochondria and with the mitochondria of HeLa cells, an effect that has been explained by the particular characteristics of the mitochondrial internal membrane. Phototoxicity was shown to increase proportionally with membrane binding efficiency, which is attributed to favorable membrane interactions which allow more efficient membrane photooxidation. For this series of compounds, photodynamic efficiency is directly proportional to the membrane binding and cell uptake, but it is not totally related to mitochondrial targeting.

Graphical abstract: Effect of zinc insertion and hydrophobicity on the membrane interactions and PDT activity of porphyrin photosensitizers

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 Jun 2008, accepted on 14 Nov 2008 and first published on 18 Dec 2008


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B810313E
Citation: Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2009,8, 233-240
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    Effect of zinc insertion and hydrophobicity on the membrane interactions and PDT activity of porphyrin photosensitizers

    C. Pavani, A. F. Uchoa, C. S. Oliveira, Y. Iamamoto and M. S. Baptista, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2009, 8, 233
    DOI: 10.1039/B810313E

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