Mitochondrial localization and photodamage during photodynamic therapy with tetraphenylporphines

Efrat Weizman, Chana Rothmann, Lior Greenbaum, Asher Shainberg, Mariusz Adamek, Benjamin Ehrenberg, Zvi Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The subcellular localization sites of TPPS4 and TPPS1 and the subsequent cellular site damage during photodynamic therapy were investigated in CT-26 colon carcinoma cells using spectroscopic and electron microscopy techniques. The association of both porphyrins with the mitochondria was investigated and the implications of this association on cellular functions were determined. Spectrofluorescence measurements showed that TPPS4 favors an aqueous environment, while TPPS1 interacts with lipophilic complexes. The subcellular localization sites of each sensitizer were determined using spectral imaging. Mitochondrial-CFP transfected cells treated with porphyrins revealed localization of TPPS1 in the peri-nuclear region, while TPPS4 localized in the mitochondria, inducing structural damage and swelling upon irradiation, as shown by transmission electron microscopy. TPPS4 fluorescence was detected in isolated mitochondria following irradiation. The photodamage induced a 38% reduction in mitochondrial activity, a 30% decrease in cellular ATP and a reduction in Na+ /K+-ATPase activity. As a result, cytosolic concentrations of Na+ and Ca2+ increased, and the level of K+ decreased. In contrast, the lipophilic TPPS1 did not affect mitochondrial structure or function and ATP content remained unchanged. We conclude that TPPS4 induces mitochondrial structural and functional photodamage resulting in an altered cytoplasmic ion concentration, while TPPS1 has no effect on the mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2000


  • Colon carcinoma
  • Mitochondria
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Porphyrin
  • TPPS
  • TPPS


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