Two meso-tetraphenylporphyrin derivatives bearing adjacent: 5,10-di[4-(N-trimethylaminophenyl)-15,20-diphenylporphyrin (DADP-a) or opposite: 5,15-di[4-(N-trimethylaminophenyl)-10,20-diphenylporphyrin (DADP-o) cationic-N-(CH3)3 groups on two of the para-phenyl positions were examined with regard to photodynamic properties as a function of charge distribution. The two adjacent positive charges in the DADP-a structure result in a molecular distortion (asymmetry), likely from electrostatic repulsion. This could be responsible for the unusual interaction of this compound with some solvents and detergent micelles. In contrast, DADP-o is a much more symmetric molecule. In a cellular environment, fluorescence spectra of the two agents were essentially identical. Subcellular localization played a major role in photodynamic efficacy. DADP-a localized in mitochondria, and irradiation of photosensitized cells (640–650 nm) resulted in a rapid loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), usually a prelude to apoptotic cell death. In contrast, DADP-o localized in lysosomes, and extensive lysosomal photodamage was observed after irradiation. Both steady-state accumulation levels and absorbance spectra favored DADP-o, but the light dose required for a 90% cell kill was two-fold greater for DADP-o than for DADP-a, at a constant extracellular sensitizer concentration. These data indicate that, on a photons/cell basis, DADP-a was five-fold more efficacious. Fluorescence emission spectra in different solvents and detergents demonstrated a tendency for DADP-a association. We interpret these results to indicate partition of both drugs to membrane loci, with mitochondria being the more lethal site for photodamage.
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Vol. 78 • No. 5