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Issue 9, 2015
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Aminolevulinic acid dendrimers in photodynamic treatment of cancer and atheromatous disease

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The use of endogenous protoporphyrin IX after administration of 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) has led to many applications in photodynamic therapy (PDT). We have previously reported that the conjugation of ALA dendrimers enhances porphyrin synthesis. The first aim of this work was to evaluate the ability of ALA dendrimers carrying 6 and 9 ALA residues (6m-ALA and 9m-ALA) to photosensitise cancer cells. For this aim, we employed LM3 mammary carcinoma cells. In these tumour cells, at low concentrations porphyrin synthesis from dendrimers was higher compared to ALA, whereas at high concentrations, porphyrin synthesis was similar from both compounds. Topical application of ALA dendrimers on the skin overlying a subcutaneous LM3 implanted tumour showed no diffusion of the molecules either to distant skin sites or to the adjacent tumour, suggesting a promising use of the ALA macromolecules in superficial cancer models. As a second objective, we proposed the use of ALA-dendrimers in vascular PDT for the treatment of atherosclerosis. Thus, we focused our studies on ALA-dendrimer's selectivity towards macrophages in comparison with endothelial cells. For this aim we employed Raw 264.7 macrophages and HMEC-1 microvasculature cells. Porphyrin synthesis induced in macrophages by 6m-ALA and 9m-ALA (3 h, 0.025 mM) was 6 and 4.6 times higher respectively compared to the endothelial cell line, demonstrating the high affinity of ALA dendrimers for macrophages. On the other hand, ALA employed at low concentrations was slightly selective (1.7-fold) for macrophages. Inhibition studies suggested that ALA dendrimer uptake in macrophages is mainly mediated by caveloae-mediated endocytosis. Our main conclusion is that in addition to being promising molecules in PDT of superficial cancer, ALA dendrimers may also find applications in vascular PDT, since in vitro they showed selectivity to the macrophage component of the atheromatous plaque, as compared to the vascular endothelium.

Graphical abstract: Aminolevulinic acid dendrimers in photodynamic treatment of cancer and atheromatous disease

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Mar 2015, accepted on 18 May 2015 and first published on 19 May 2015

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5PP00126A
Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2015,14, 1617-1627

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    Aminolevulinic acid dendrimers in photodynamic treatment of cancer and atheromatous disease

    L. Rodriguez, P. Vallecorsa, S. Battah, G. Di Venosa, G. Calvo, L. Mamone, D. Sáenz, M. C. Gonzalez, A. Batlle, A. J. MacRobert and A. Casas, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2015, 14, 1617
    DOI: 10.1039/C5PP00126A

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