Photodynamic effect of hypericin and a water-soluble derivative on isolated crayfish neuron and surrounding glial cells

Anatoly B. Uzdensky, Denis E. Bragin, Mikhail S. Kolosov, Andreas Kubin, Hans G. Loew, Johan Moan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    25 Scopus citations


    Hypericin (Hyp) has been proposed as a fluorochrome for fluorescence diagnostics and as a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy of cancer. However, its insolubility in water is a serious drawback. A novel water-soluble hypericin derivative (Hyp-S) has been constructed, using polyvinylpyrrolidone as a carrier. We used the crayfish stretch receptor, consisting of receptor neuron and satellite glial cells, for comparison of the photodynamic effects of Hyp and Hyp-S. Hyp-S was more toxic in the dark than Hyp and inactivated the neurons at concentrations exceeding 4 μM while Hyp was toxic to the neurons only at the concentrations larger than 20 μM. Electrophysiological investigations revealed polyphasic neuron responses to photosensitization with Hyp as well as with Hyp-S (1 μM concentration, 30 min incubation; irradiation with filtered light from a lamp with an emission maximum near 600 nm and an intensity of 0.2 W/cm2). In the concentration range 1-4 μM Hyp-S was more phototoxic than Hyp. Fluorescence microscopy showed that both sensitizers were predominately localized in the glial envelope surrounding the neuron. A minor fraction of hypericin was found in the neuron perinuclear area rich in cytoplasm organelles. This suggests the potential application of Hyp and Hyp-S for visualization and selective photodynamic treatment of malignant gliomas.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)27-33
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
    Issue number1-3
    StatePublished - Dec 5 2003


    • Glial cells
    • Hypericin
    • Intracellular localization
    • Neuron
    • Photodynamic effect
    • Water-soluble hypericin

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Radiation
    • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
    • Biophysics
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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