Wavelength-dependent properties of photodynamic therapy using hypericin in vitro and in an animal model

Michael Blank, Genady Kostenich*, Gad Lavie, Sol Kimel, Yona Keisari, Arie Orenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wavelength effects in photodynamic therapy (PDT) with hypericin (HY) were examined in a C26 colon carcinoma model both in vitro and in vivo. Irradiation of HY-sensitized cells in vitro with either 550 or 590 nm caused the loss of cell viability in a drug- and light-dose-dependent manner. The calculated ratio of HY-based PDT (HY-PDT) efficiencies at these two wavelengths was found to correlate with the numerical ratio of absorbed photons at each wavelength. In vivo irradiation of C26-derived tumors, 6 h after intraperitoneal administration of HY (5 mg/kg), caused extensive vascular damage and tumor necrosis. The depth of tumor necrosis (d) was more pronounced at 590 than at 550 nm and increased when the light dose was raised from 60 to 120 J/cm2. The maximal depths of tumor necrosis (at 120 J/cm2) were 7.5 ± 1.5 mm at 550 nm and 9.9 ± 0.8 mm at 590 nm. Both values are rather high in view of the limited penetration of green-yellow light into the tissue. Moreover, the depth ratio, d590/d550 = 1.3 (P < 0.001), is smaller than expected considering the 2.2-fold lower HY absorbance and the 1.7-fold lower tissue penetration of radiation at 550 than at 590 nm. This finding indicates that in vivo the depth at which HY-PDT elicits tumor necrosis is not only determined by photophysical considerations (light penetration, number of absorbed photons) but is also influenced significantly by other mechanisms such as vascular effects. Therefore, despite the relatively short-wavelength peaks of absorption, our observations suggest that HY is an effective photodynamic agent that can be useful in the treatment of tumors with depths in the range of 1 cm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2002


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