A novel tetracationic phthalocyanine as a potential skin phototherapeutic agent

Clara Fabris, Marina Soncin, Emanuela Mazzon, Piergiacomo Calzavara-Pinton, Fantetti Lia, Chiti Giacomo, Donata Dei, Silvia Tampucci, Gabrio Roncucci, Giulio Jori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An amphiphilic tetracationic derivative of Zn(II)-phthalocyanine (RLP068) was prepared by means of chemical synthesis and was showed to possess efficient photophysical and photosensitizing properties against model biological substrates. RLP068 was incorporated into a gel formulation, which allowed its ready penetration into the epidermal layers, but not into the dermis, of both Balb/c and hairless SKH1 mice after 1-2 h of topical deposition. Pharmacokinetic studies showed that the phthalocyanine thus formulated does not enter the general blood circulation. The epidermis-associated amount of phthalocyanine was sufficient to cause an important cutaneous damage upon irradiation with red light (600-700 nm; 100-180 mW/cm2, 160 J/cm2); the latter was confined to the epidermal area with no apparent diffusion to the underlying dermal layers or appearance of photosensitivity in distal skin areas. A systematic investigation of the interplay among the different parameters (deposition time of the formulated phthalocyanine on mouse skin, irradiation fluence rate and total light fluence) allowed us to identify the minimal phototoxic dose, as well as to define irradiation protocols allowing the repeatability of the phototherapeutic treatment. The potential of RLP068 to act as a PDT agent for cutaneous diseases is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-683
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • Cutaneous diseases
  • Minimal phototoxic dose
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photosensitization
  • Pthalocyanines
  • Singlet oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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