In vitro and in vivo photosensitizing capabilities of 5-ALA in vascular endothelial cells

C. J. Chang, S. F. Ma, F. C. Wei

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The object of our study is to evaluate the feasibility of photodynamic therapy for complicated hemangiomas. We studied the effect of the photosensitizing agent 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) in both in vitro and in vivo models. Methods: The in vitro photosensitizing activity of 5-ALA was examined in a microvascular endothelial cell (MEC) culture system. 5-ALA was added in various concentrations and the cells were illuminated at 630 nm. The percentage of MEC killed was measured by either a Live/Dead assay or an lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay. The effect of varying the light energy dose develivered at 630 nm after the administration of 5-ALA was studied by determining the amount of necrosis produced in chicken combs. Results: The comination of 5-ALA at a concentration of 35 μ g/ml, and illumination by 100 mW/cm2 of laser light at 630 nm wavelength, caused 50% cell kill in the MEC culture system. Chicken combs of animals that received 200 mg/kg of 5-ALA and illumination at a power density of 80 m W/cm2 had a depth of injury of 362.5±27.6 μ m upon histological examination. Those combs that received 100 or 120 mW/cm2 showed a depth of injury of 732.5±29.1 and 792.5±36.0 μ m respectively. Conclusion: 5-ALA is effective in sensitizing human MEC to laser illumination. However, the degree of absorption and tissue destruction in different anatomical structures should be considered in future clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalChang Gung Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 30 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Microvascular endothelial cells
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photosensitizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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