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Pure Appl. Chem., 2001, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 481-486

Photosensitization by drugs

Miguel A. Miranda

Departamento de Química-Instituto de Tecnología Química UPV-CSIC, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n, E-46022-Valencia, Spain

Abstract: Certain drugs are known to elicit photosensitivity side effects. A satisfactory understanding of the involved mechanistic aspects is necessary to anticipate the photosensitizing potential. We have used tiaprofenic acid (TPA), a photosensitizing nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug, to illustrate the methodology followed to address this problem. After studying the photophysical and photochemical properties of TPA, the attention has been directed towards the reactivity of its lowest lying p-p* triplet with biomolecules. Photosensitized lipid peroxidation occurs by a mixed type I (radicals) and type II (singlet oxygen) mechanism. In the case of proteins, the photosensitized reactions include Tyr, Trp, and His photodegradation, protein­protein photocrosslinking and drug­protein photobinding. This involves direct quenching of the drug triplet by the amino acid residues (Tyr and Trp) or by oxygen, followed by singlet oxygen oxidation (His and Trp). With DNA, the studies have included comet assay, induction of single-strand breaks in supercoiled DNA, and reaction with 2'-deoxyguanosine and thymidine. Product studies, together with time-resolved measurements, have shown that the fastest reaction occurs with purine bases, by a mechanism involving both radical and singlet oxygen processes. The employed methodology can be of general use to investigate the mechanistic aspects of photosensitization by drugs.