Halogenated squaraine dyes are characterized by long wavelength absorption (>600 nm) and high triplet yields and therefore represent new types of photosensitizers that could be useful for photodynamic therapy. We have analyzed the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of the bromo derivative 1, the iodo derivative 2 and the corresponding nonhalogenated dye 3 in the absence and presence of visible light. At concentrations of 1–2 μM, 1 and 2 reduced the cloning efficiency of AS52 Chinese hamster ovary cells to less than 1% under conditions that were well tolerated in the dark. Similarly, the proliferation of L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells was inhibited by photoexcited 1 and 2 with high selectivity. The squaraine 3 was much less efficient. Both 1 and 2 induced only few mutations in the gpt locus of the AS52 cells in the presence of light and were not mutagenic in the dark. No mutagenicity with and without irradiation was observed in Salmonella typhimurium TA100 and TA2638. However, both 1 and 2 plus light increased the frequency of micronuclei in AS52 cells. The results indicate that halogenated squaraines exhibit photobiological properties in vitro that are favorable for photodynamic therapeutical applications.
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Vol. 76 • No. 6