Simple synthesis of multifunctional photosensitizers for mitochondrial and bacterial imaging and photodynamic anticancer and antibacterial therapy†
Photosensitizers (PSs), a critical drug administered for successful photodynamic therapy (PDT), have been well researched regarding their anticancer or bactericidal capability with high precision and low invasiveness. Although traditional PSs have been explored either in photodynamic anticancer or in antibiosis, they usually require synthesis with multiple steps, harsh synthetic conditions, and a complicated purification process for a single targeted product. Therefore, developing new multifunctional PSs with a simple synthesis and reactant flexibility which combine mitochondrial and bacterial imaging, efficient photodynamic anticancer and antibacterial effects is of the utmost urgency and of great importance for clinical applications. Herein, a large structural investigation of isoquinolinium-based PSs synthesized by a simple Rh-catalysed annulation reaction with high yields is presented. These lipophilic cationic PSs have a tunable photophysical property. LIQ-6 was found to perform not only as an ideal mitochondria targeting probe but also an effective cancer cell killing PS, and moreover, a tracker for bacterial imaging and ablation. LIQ-6 can be used to image a wide range of cancer cells and to monitor the photo-induced cell apoptosis, and simultaneously, it can also image and be a photodynamic germicide for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Furthermore, LIQ-6 shows great effectiveness in the wound healing process, showing its ability to be an ideal PS in vivo as well. This contribution is believed to offer a new platform for the construction of a theragnostic system for future practical applications in biology and biomedicine.