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Phototoxicity of exogenous protoporphyrin IX and -aminolevulinic acid in the photo hen's egg test

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Oxygen, appropriate light sources, and special photosensitizers are necessary to induce photochemical damage in tumor cells via photodynamic therapy (PDT) -aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is increasingly used in PDT, because topical or systemic administration of ALA induces accumulation of endogenous porphyrins preferentially in neoplastic tissues. Subsequent radiation with light of approximately 630 nm leads to selective damage of tumor cells. PDT should optimally leave peritumoral tissues unaffected, but only few data are reported on the effects and the time course of ALA-induced porphyrins in tumor-free tissues. Methods:

Therefore, we studied the phototoxic effects of protoporphyrin IX (PP) and ALA-induced porphyrins in a recently established photototoxic model based on tumor-free tissue, the photo hen's egg test (PHET). Results:

Employing this test procedure, PP provoked strong phototoxic reactions when irradiated with Ultraviolet A immediately and up to 30 h after substance application. In contrast, ALA induced a significant phototoxic effect only if irradiated 24 h after application. Conclusion:

Thus, we observed a delayed phototoxic effect of ALA in tumor-free tissue of the yolk sac (YS) blood vessel system. This delayed phototoxic response 24 h after ALA application is probably caused by endogenously synthesized porphyrins. In contrast, epithelial tumors show a maximum porphyrin accumulation 4–8 h after ALA application whereas in healthy human skin porphyrin synthesis is less intensive but prolonged with maximum levels 24–48 h after ALA application. Thus, ALA induced virtually the same delayed phototoxic effect in the tumor-free YS blood vessel tissue as in healthy human skin. These results show that the PHET is a useful model for the predictive preclinical risk assessment of exogenous or endogenous photosensitizers.
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Keywords: aminolevulinic acid; photo hen's egg test; photodynamic therapy; photosensitizer; phototoxicity; predictive test systems; protoporphyrin IX

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Dermatology, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Germany, and 2: Department of Dermatology, Helios Clinic Wuppertal, Germany

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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