Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/20769
Title: The cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of 5-aminolevulinic acid on lymphocytes : a comet assay study
Authors: Chu, ESM
Wu, RWK
Yow, CMN
Wong, TKS
Chen, JY
Issue Date: 2006
Source: Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology, 2006, v. 58, no. 3, p. 408-414
Abstract: Background: 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and its hexylester (ALA-H) are the drugs currently used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). The side effect, especially the long-term side effect of these drugs is a problem of concern in this field, which has not been clearly understood yet. Purpose: The normal lymphocytes and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells were used as the cell models to evaluate the side effects of ALA or ALA-H in the absence of light or under sub-lethal doses of light. Methods: The cytotoxic and DNA-damaging effects of ALA or ALA-H on lymphocytes and NPC cells were studied by means of the 3-(4,5- dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and the alkaline comet assay. ALA at 0.75 mM concentration and ALA-H at 10-μM concentrations were selected in the studies. This is because under these concentrations, ALA- or ALA-H-mediated PDT can destroy most NPC cells in vitro. The intracellular distributions of the protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), induced by the ALA or ALA-H, were measured by the confocal laser scanning microscope to provide more information for understanding the DNA damage. Results: The incubation of 0.75 mM ALA or 10 μM ALA-H alone (without light) did not cause DNA damage as well as the considerable cytotoxic effect on NPC cells. However, after ALA (0.75 mM) incubation and without light irradiation, the serious cytotoxicity and remarkable DNA damage were found in lymphocytes. When the lymphocytes were incubated with ALA-H (10 μM) alone (in the absence of light), no DNA damage could be detected and a slight cytotoxic effect was found. Both ALA and ALA-H induced PpIX in the lymphocytes. The fluorescence images of PpIX intracellular localization demonstrated that the PpIX diffused into the nuclear region in ALA-(0.75 mM)-incubated lymphocytes but not existed in the nucleus of ALA-H(10 μM)- incubated lymphocytes, providing an explanation for the facts that ALA (0.75 mM) induced the DNA damage while ALA-H (10 μM) did not. Conclusion: These results suggested that the genotoxic potential of lymphocytes seems high for ALA (0.75 mM) and could be excluded for ALA-H (10 μM).
Keywords: 5-aminolevulinic acid
Comet assay
Cytotoxicity
Genotoxic potential
Photodynamic therapy
Publisher: Springer
Journal: Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 
ISSN: 0344-5704
DOI: 10.1007/s00280-005-0169-2
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