Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 391–398 | Cite as

Phototoxic effect of curcumin on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and L929 fibroblasts

  • Ana Paula Dias Ribeiro
  • Ana Cláudia PavarinaEmail author
  • Livia Nordi Dovigo
  • Iguatemy Lourenço Brunetti
  • Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato
  • Carlos Eduardo Vergani
  • Carlos Alberto de Souza Costa
Original Article


Photodynamic therapy has been investigated as an alternative method of killing pathogens in response to the multiantibiotic resistance problem. This study evaluated the photodynamic effect of curcumin on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) compared to susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) and L929 fibroblasts. Suspensions of MSSA and MRSA were treated with different concentrations of curcumin and exposed to light-emitting diode (LED). Serial dilutions were obtained from each sample, and colony counts were quantified. For fibroblasts, the cell viability subsequent to the curcumin-mediated photodynamic therapy was evaluated using the MTT assay and morphological changes were assessed by SEM analysis. Curcumin concentrations ranging from 5.0 to 20.0 μM in combination with any tested LED fluences resulted in photokilling of MSSA. However, only the 20.0 μM concentration in combination with highest fluence resulted in photokilling of MRSA. This combination also promoted an 80% reduction in fibroblast cell metabolism and morphological changes were present, indicating that cell membrane was the main target of this phototherapy. The combination of curcumin with LED light caused photokilling of both S. aureus strains and may represent an alternative treatment for eradicating MRSA, responsible for significantly higher morbidity and mortality and increased healthcare costs in institutions and hospitals.


MRSA Photodynamic therapy Curcumin Fibroblasts 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Center of Study in Optics and Photonics (CEPOF) ant the Physics Institute of São Carlos (IFSC) of the University of São Paulo (USP) for developing the LED prototype used in this study. This work was supported by FAPESP—São Paulo Research Foundation (Grants 2008/03994-9 and 2010/05425-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Paula Dias Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Ana Cláudia Pavarina
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Livia Nordi Dovigo
    • 1
  • Iguatemy Lourenço Brunetti
    • 2
  • Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato
    • 3
  • Carlos Eduardo Vergani
    • 1
  • Carlos Alberto de Souza Costa
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Dental Materials and Prosthodontics, Araraquara Dental SchoolUNESP—Univ. Estadual PaulistaAraraquaraBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Analysis, School of Pharmaceutical SciencesUNESP—Univ. Estadual PaulistaAraraquaraBrazil
  3. 3.Physics Institute of São CarlosUniversity of São PauloSão CarlosBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Physiology and Pathology, Araraquara School of DentistryUNESP—Univ. Estadual PaulistaAraraquaraBrazil
  5. 5.Faculdade de Odontologia de AraraquaraUniversidade Estadual Paulista/UNESPSão PauloBrasil

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