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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;34(1):10-23.

Low-density lipoprotein receptors in the uptake of tumour photosensitizers by human and rat transformed fibroblasts.

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Department of Biology, University of Padova, via U. Bassi 58/B, 35131 Padova, Italy.


Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) increase the selectivity of tumour targeting by drugs, including sensitisers for photodynamic therapy, because of the enhanced expression of specific LDL receptors in many types of transformed as compared with non-transformed cells. This investigation aims at gaining more information on the role of LDL receptors in the accumulation of photosensitizer-LDL complexes by human and rat transformed fibroblasts, and the interference of the photosensitizer with LDL recognition by the specific receptors. Both an amphiphilic hematoporphyrin IX (Hp) and a hydrophobic Zn(II)-phthalocyanine (ZnPc) photosensitizers bind to human LDL with molar ratios of 5-6:1 and 10-12:1, respectively. The hematoporphyrin-LDL complex is accumulated by human HT1080 fibroblasts mainly through the high affinity LDL receptors, while the Zn-phthalocyanine-LDL complex is internalised through non specific endocytosis because of changes in the apoB LDL structure induced by phthalocyanine association, as suggested by spectroscopic studies. The uptake of LDL-delivered hematoporphyrin, but not Zn-phthalocyanine, is about 4-fold higher in HT1080 cells stimulated for maximal expression of LDL receptors as compared with non-stimulated cells. This difference is abolished by LDL acetylation. Human LDL-bound hematoporphyrin and Zn-phthalocyanine are up taken by stimulated and non-stimulated 4R rat fibroblasts with similar efficiency. Scatchard plot analysis of human (125)I-LDL binding to 4R cells shows the presence of only low affinity receptors while 350,000 high affinity receptors are expressed per HT1080 cell. It is concluded that a careful evaluation of the lack of conformational changes of LDL is critical for guaranteeing the selectivity and efficiency of photosensitizer delivery to tumour cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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