The phototoxic effect of meso-tetra-hydroxyphenyl-chlorin (mTHPC)–mediated photodynamic therapy (PDT) on human microvascular endothelial cells (hMVEC) was compared with that on human fibroblasts (BCT-27) and two human tumor cell lines (HMESO-1 and HNXOE). To examine the relationship between intrinsic phototoxicity and intracellular mTHPC content, we expressed cell survival as a function of cellular fluorescence. On the basis of total cell fluorescence, HNXOE tumor cells were the most sensitive and BCT-27 fibroblasts the most resistant, but these differences disappeared after correcting for cell volume. Endothelial cells were not intrinsically more sensitive to mTHPC-PDT than tumor cells or fibroblasts. Uptake of mTHPC in hMVEC increased linearly to at least 48 h, whereas drug uptake in the other cell lines reached a maximum by 24 h. No difference in drug uptake was seen between the cell lines during the first 24 h, but by 48 h hMVEC had a 1.8- to 2.8-fold higher uptake than other cell lines. Endothelial cells showed a rapid apoptotic response after mTHPC-mediated PDT, whereas similar protocols gave a delayed apoptotic or necrotic like response in HNXOE. We conclude that endothelial cells are not intrinsically more sensitive than other cell types to mTHPC-mediated PDT but that continued drug uptake beyond 24 h may lead to higher intracellular drug levels and increased photosensitivity under certain conditions.
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Vol. 80 • No. 2