Exogenously Induced Endogenous Photosensitizers

  • Gesine Heuck
  • Norbert Lange


The photosensitizing properties of endogenous porphyrins have been discovered about 100 years ago. Since then they have become an attractive means to detect and treat neoplastic tissue by fluorescence photodetection (PD) and photodynamic therapy (PDT). The probably most important endogenous photosensitizer is protoporphyrin IX (PPIX), the direct precursor of heme. It accumulates preferentially in neoplastic cells upon administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA). 5-ALA is an early precursor of heme. When applied exogenously it takes up the function of a prodrug, which is converted into PPIX by the enzymes of the heme biosynthetic pathway. Numerous approaches have been undertaken to improve the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of 5-ALA PDT with respect to tissue selectivity and biocompatibility. This chapter shall give an overview of the methods used to optimize 5-ALA PDT and PD.


Stratum Corneum Penetration Enhancer Acute Intermittent Porphyria PPIX Fluorescence Plantar Wart 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of Lausanne, University of GenevaGeneva 4Switzerland

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