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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes