Nonlinear Dynamics of Intracellular Methylene Blue During Light Activation of Cell Cultures

Methylene blue (MB+) is a well-known dye in medicine and has been discussed as an easily applicable drug for topical treatment in photodynamic therapy (PDT). Methylene blue can potentially be used as a redox indicator to detect the important redox reactions that are induced during PDT. The kinetics of this process was analyzed on a subcellular level with confocal laser scanning microscopy. BKEz-7 endothelial cells were incubated 4 h with 1 mM MB+. The fluorescence dynamics of MB+ during irradiation with 633 nm light was observed with subcellular resolution. Images were acquired at 0.5 s intervals (frame rate 1 image/0.5 s). Fluorescence was observed in the red channel of the laser scanning microscope. Synchronously, the phase-contrast image was visualized with the green channel. Morphological changes could therefore be correlated with the dynamics of MB+. In addition, the light-dose-dependent phototoxicity at 633 nm irradiation was determined by viable cell counting. After an induction period (phase I), fast fluorescent spikes could be observed in the whole cytoplasm, which decayed with a time constant of about 20 s (phase II), followed by a period of nearly constant fluorescence intensity (phase III) and exponential photobleaching (phase IV). Phase II exhibits highly nonlinear kinetics, which is hypothesized to correlate probably with a nonlinear quantal production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Morphological cell changes were not observed during phase II. During phase III, a pycnotic cell nucleus developed. From the determination of viable cells we can conclude that a light dose applied within phase II was only sublethal in correlation with morphological observations. Overproduction of ROS leading finally to cell killing during phases III and IV is discussed.

A. R¸ck, K. Heckelsmiller, N. Akg¸n, G. Beck, E. S. K. Kunzi- Rapp, R. Steiner, "Nonlinear Dynamics of Intracellular Methylene Blue During Light Activation of Cell Cultures," Photochem Photobiol,66, 837 (97).

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