The binding of the photosensitizing fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotic norfloxacin (NX) to sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micelles and the photoreactivity of the NX/SDS complex under physiological pH conditions are investigated by means of absorption and emission spectroscopy, steady-state and laser flash photolysis. It is shown that the photolabile zwitterionic form of NX, which is dominant at physiological pH, is not the most abundant species in the presence of SDS micelles. This medium exhibits a high preference for the cationic form of the drug, which is selectively and successfully entrapped within the micellar cage (Kass = 6 × 104 M−1 ± 3000), becoming the largely dominant species at neutral pH. The effect of this trapping is drastically reflected on both efficiency and nature of the drug photodecomposition. It is observed that the photostability of NX incorporated in the micellar pseudophase increases of more than one order of magnitude if compared to that of the “free” drug. Furthermore, the radical photodecomposition mechanism occurring in phosphate buffered solution is suppressed by the micellar medium and the low photodegradation observed seems to take place preferentially through an ionic pathway. Hopefully, the results presented herein may contribute to a better understanding of the bio-distribution of NX in biological systems and provide helpful and stimulating information in order to get the control of FQ photoreactivity under physiological pH conditions.
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Vol. 82 • No. 1