A formulation study of 5-aminolevulinic encapsulated in DPPC liposomes in melanoma treatment

Ming Wei Lin, Yaw Bin Huang, Chun Lin Chen, Pao Chu Wu, Chien Ying Chou, Ping Ching Wu, Shih Ya Hung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a widely used technique for epithelial skin cancer treatment. 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is a drug currently used for PDT and is a hydrophilic molecule at its physiological pH, and this limits its capacity to cross the stratum corneum of skin. Since skin penetration is a key factor in the efficacy of topical 5-ALA-mediated PDT, numerous strategies have been proposed to improve skin penetration. Yet this problem is still ongoing. The results of a previous study showed a low rate of 5-ALA encapsulated in liposomes (5.7%) that were 400 nm in size. In the present study, we used 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) liposomes as vehicles and tested their delivery efficacy of 5-ALA-medicated PDT both in vitro and in vivo. Our data shows that 5-ALA encapsulated in 0.1 or 0.5% DPPC liposomes (5-ALA/DPPC) had a better encapsulated rate (15~16%) and were smaller in size (84~89 nm). We found the 5-ALA/DPPC formulation reduced cell viability, mitochondria membrane potential, and enhanced intracellular ROS accumulation as compared to 5-ALA alone in melanoma cells. Furthermore, the 5-ALA/DPPC formulation also had better skin penetration ability as compared to the 5-ALA in our ex vivo data by assaying 5-ALA converted into protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) in the skin of the mice that were experimented on. In melanoma xenograft models, 5-ALA/DPPC enhanced PpIX accumulation only in tumor tissue but not normal skin. In conclusion, we found DPPC liposomes to be good carriers for 5-ALA delivery and believe that they may prove useful in 5-ALA-mediated PDT in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-489
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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