The phototoxicity of triamcinolone 16,17-acetonide has been estimated through a panel of in vitro tests. The main target involved in phototoxicity induced by triamcinolone appeared to be the cell membrane. Oxygen-independent photohemolysis was observed. A photochemical study in water and buffered solutions supported the conclusion that this is related to the action of radicals formed upon UV irradiation (in particular UV-B) by Norrish Type-I fragmentation of the C-20 ketone group. Peroxy radicals were formed in the presence of oxygen and were the active species in that case. Three photoproducts, isolated from the photodegradation of the drug, were submitted to the same toxicity tests. Two of them were proved to possess toxic or phototoxic properties on erythrocytes, primarily induced by UV-B light, and may participate in the photosensitizing activity of triamcinolone 16,17-acetonide. Our in vitro results suggest that the drug can elicit weak photosensitizing properties in vivo.
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Vol. 78 • No. 5