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Issue 1, 2012
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DNA damage spectra induced by photosensitization

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DNA damage induced by photosensitization is not only responsible for the genotoxic effects of various types of drugs in the presence of light, but is also relevant for some of the adverse effects of sunlight, in particular in the UVA and visible range of the spectrum. The types of DNA modifications induced are very diverse and include pyrimidine dimers, covalent adducts, various base modifications generated by oxidation, single-strand breaks and (regular and oxidized) sites of base loss. The ratios in which the various modifications are formed (damage spectra) can be regarded as a fingerprint of the damaging mechanism. Here, we describe the damage spectra of various classes of photosensitizers in relation to the underlying damaging mechanisms. In mammalian cells irradiated with solar radiation, damage at wavelengths <400 nm is characteristic for a (not yet identified) endogenous type-I or type-II photosensitizer. In the UVA range, however, both direct DNA excitation and photosensitized damage appear to be relevant, and there are indications that other chromophore(s) are involved than in the visible range.

Graphical abstract: DNA damage spectra induced by photosensitization

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Article information

21 Jun 2011
11 Aug 2011
First published
08 Sep 2011

Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2012,11, 98-106
Article type

DNA damage spectra induced by photosensitization

B. Epe, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2012, 11, 98
DOI: 10.1039/C1PP05190C

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