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Photochem Photobiol. 1996 Aug;64(2):375-81.

Photodynamic effects of hypericin on lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status in melanoma cells.

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laboratorie de Biochimie C, Centre Hospitalier RĂ©gional Universitaire A. Michallon, Grenoble, France.


Photodynamic-induced cytotoxicity by hypericin (HYP) was studied on three human melanoma cell lines: one pigmented cell line (G361) and two amelanotic cell lines (M18 and M6). No significant variation in the rate of uptake and in the maximum level of HYP incorporation for the different cells was observed. In the dark, no cytotoxicity was observed in the range 0-10-6 M HYP for the three cell lines. Amelanotic cells were found to be more sensitive than pigmented cells to irradiation of HYP with visible light (lambda > 590 nm). In addition, for the three cell lines HYP-induced photocytotoxicity was found to be drug-dose and light-dose dependent. Under the conditions used, thiobarbituric acid-reacting substances (TBARs) were significantly increased in amelanotic cells after irradiation (P < 0.0001). By contrast, the amount of TBARS remained unchanged in pigmented cells. Antioxidant defenses including enzymes and glutathione (GSH) were assayed before and after HYP photosensitization. Significantly increased total SOD activity was observed after photosensitizaton for amelanotic cells (P < 0.05), while glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) and catalase (Cat) activities but also GSH levels were significantly decreased (P < 0.01). In pigmented cells a significantly increased Cat activity was found (P < 0.05), whereas GSHPx was unaffected after irradiation. It can be inferred that (a) HYP may be an effective PDT agent for melanoma and (b) there is a relationship between melanin content and sensitivity to HYP phototoxicity in human melanoma cells.

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