Mitochondrion-targeted photosensitizer enhances the photodynamic effect-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis

Tsung I. Peng, Cheng Jen Chang, Mei Jin Guo, Yu Huai Wang, Jau Song Yu, Hong Yueh Wu, Mei Jie Jou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, the mitochondrion has been considered as a novel pharmacological target for anticancer therapy due to its crucial role involved in arbitrating cell apoptosis. We have previously demonstrated that 488-nm laser irradiation induced a specific mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS) formation and apoptotic death. In this study, we used a second generation of photosensitizers, the benzoporphyrin-derivative monoacid ring A (BPD-MA). We investigated specifically mechanisms at the mitochondrial level for BPD-MA coupled with 690-nm laser irradiation, the photodynamic effect (PDE) of BPD-MA, using conventional and laser scanning imaging microscopy in intact C6 glioma cells. We demonstrated BPD-MA localized mainly in the mitochondrial area. The phototoxicity induced by 1∼10 J 690-nm laser irradiation was minor as compared to that induced by 488-nm laser irradiation. Unlike other mitochondrion-targeted photosensitizers, the dark toxicity induced by BPD-MA (0.05-5 mg/mL, effective doses used for the PDE) was relatively low. Nevertheless, the PDE of BPD-MA using 0.5 mg/mL coupled with 5J 690- nm irradiation induced profound and rapid (<1 min) mitochondrial swelling, mROS formation, and severe plasma membrane blebing as compared to that induced by 488-nm laser irradiation (<10 min). Later, the PDE of BPD-MA resulted in positive propidium iodide cell-death stain and positive TUNEL apoptotic nuclear stain and DNA laddering. Finally, the PDT of BPD-MA also instantaneously promoted the mitochondrion to diminish its covalent binding with a mitochondrial marker, MitoTracker Green. We conclude that the PDT of BPD-MA targeted primarily and compellingly the mitochondrion to induce effective mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and thus may serve as a powerful photosensitizer for clinical cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • BPD-MA
  • Mitochondria
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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