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Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Jun;75(6):633-43.

Near-infrared photosensitizer based on a cycloimide derivative of chlorin p6: 13,15-N-(3'-hydroxypropyl)cycloimide chlorin p6.

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Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.


The 13,15-N-(3'-hydroxypropylcycloimide) chlorin p6 (CIC), which absorbs at 711 nm, possesses considerable photoinduced cell-killing activity. It is 43-, 61- and 110-fold more active than chlorin p6, 3-formyl-3-devinyl chlorin p6 and Photogem, respectively, and has no cytotoxicity without irradiation as estimated on A549 human adenocarcinoma cells. To attain the highest intracellular penetration and activity the monomeric form of CIC should be stabilized. This stabilization in an aqueous environment can be achieved using 0.002-0.005% of Cremophor EL emulsion (polyoxyethylene derivative of hydrogenated castor oil). The intracellular accumulation of CIC occurs in cytoplasm in a monomeric form bound to cellular membranes. This form of the dye is characterized by a high quantum yield of singlet oxygen generation (0.66 +/- 0.02). Besides diffuse staining of intracellular membranous structures, CIC accumulates 3- to 4-fold more intensely in mitochondria and Golgi apparatus, thus indicating these organelles to be the initial targets of its photodynamic action. The incubation time providing 50% accumulation level of CIC in cells is 30 +/- 5 min. The time for 50% release of CIC from the cells is 60 +/- 10 min. A 10-fold decrease in CIC intracellular penetration at 22 degrees C proves that temperature-sensitive mechanisms of transport, rather than diffusion, are responsible for the dye uptake. The average cytoplasmic concentration of CIC was seven times the extracellular concentration in the 0.2-1.6 microM range, used for the photodynamic activity measurements. The concentration of CIC and the light dose that correspond to ca 50% level of phototoxicity induce predominantly an apoptotic-type of cell death, whereas the conditions providing 100% level of phototoxicity induced necrosis. The results obtained indicate that cycloimide derivatives of chlorin p6 may serve as a base for the development of an efficient near-IR photosensitizer.

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