Photodynamic therapy using 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX has been developed as a very useful therapeutic modality. Recently, several authors have reported on the efficacy of this procedure for acne. This approach is based on the fact that 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX has strong selectivity for sebaceous glands. We used the immortalized human sebaceous gland cell line SZ95 to investigate cellular mechanisms of photodynamic therapy using 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX. Quantification of induced protoporphyrin IX production showed dependence on the applied 5-aminolevulinic acid dose. When SZ95 sebocytes were differentiated by arachidonic acid treatment, there was no difference between them and the control cells with respect to both the amount of 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX and the phototoxic effects. We altered protoporphyrin IX formation rates by growing cells scattered as single cells in the culture dishes. Single cells produced significantly lower protoporphyrin IX levels than those grown with intercellular contacts. Intracellular localization of protoporphyrin IX was imaged using confocal laser scanning microscopy. The differentiation-specific lipid droplets were virtually excluded from protoporphyrin IX fluorescence. In addition to weak mitochondrial and strong membrane fluorescence, distinctive spots with strong fluorescence were observed. These did not colocalize with fluorescent probes for mitochondria, lysosomes or the Golgi apparati.
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Vol. 82 • No. 2