The photodynamic activities of novel asymmetrically meso-substituted cationic porphyrins, 5,10-di(4-methylphenyl)-15,20-di(4-trimethylammoniumphenyl)porphyrin iodide 1 and 5-(4-trifluorophenyl)-10,15,20-tris(4-trimethylammoniumphenyl)porphyrin iodide 2 and its metal complex with Pd(II) 3, have been investigated in both homogeneous medium bearing photooxidizable substrates and in vitro on a typical gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli. The amphiphilic character of porphyrin 2 was increased by the presence of a high-lipophilic trifluoromethyl group and its photophysical properties changed by forming a complex with Pd(II). Absorption and fluorescence spectroscopic studies were compared in different media. Fluorescence quantum yields (ϕF) of 0.16 for 1 in tetrahydrofuran and 0.08 for 2 in N, N-dimethylformamide (DMF) were calculated, whereas no significant emission was detected for Pd(II) porphyrin 3. The singlet molecular oxygen, O2(1Δg), production was evaluated using 9,10-dimethylanthracene in DMF yielding relative values of 1, 0.55 and 0.47 for porphyrins 3, 2 and 1, respectively. A faster decomposition of l-tryptophan was obtained using Pd(II) porphyrin 3 as sensitizer with respect to the free-base porphyrins 1 and 2. In biological medium, the behavior of cationic porphyrins 1–3 were compared with that of 5-(4-carboxyphenyl)-10,15,20-tris(4-methylphenyl)porphyrin 4, which was used as a noncationic sensitizer. These porphyrins are rapidly bound to E. coli cells in 5 min and the amount of cell-bound sensitizer is not appreciably changed incubating the cultures for longer times. The recovered porphyrin 2 after one washing step reaches a value of ∼2.9 nmol/106 cells and this amount remains high even after three washes, indicating that this sensitizer is tightly bound to cells. Photosensitized inactivation of E. coli was analyzed using cells without and with one washing step. In both cases, a higher photoinactivation of cells was found for tricationic porphyrin 2 and 3, causing a ∼5.5 log (99.999%) decrease of cell survival, when treated with 10 μM of sensitizer. Under these conditions, a lower effect was found for porphyrin 1 (∼4 log) whereas sensitizer 4 did not produce appreciable photodamage. The results were also confirmed by growth delay experiments. These studies show that the amphiphilic tricationic porphyrin 2 and 3 bearing a trifluoromethyl group can be a promising model for phototherapeutic agents with potential applications in inactivation of bacteria by photodynamic therapy.
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Vol. 80 • No. 2