Ineffective drug delivery is a vast problem of anticancer therapies. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of enhancement of cyanines transport through the cell membrane by electroporation and to evaluate a photodynamic activity of these compounds.


We evaluated in vitro the effectiveness of photodynamic reaction with cyanines on breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7/WT) and normal Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO) lacking voltage-dependention channels, alone and combined with electropermeabilization. Among six cyanines tested, two compounds could be indicated as good therapeutic candidates: IR-775 and IR-786. Cellular effects were assessed with MTT assay reporting cell mitochondrial activity and with SRB assay based on the measurement of cellular protein content. Cyanines localization was observed with confocal microscope.


Photodynamic reaction of MCF-7/WT cells with IR-775 and IR-786 did not result in cellular dysfunction. Electric field intensities and pulse duration, non-toxic for cells, significantly increased photocytotoxicity of the cyanines after electropermeabilization with IR-775 and IR-786. Much shorter exposure times were efficient for cyanines in photodynamic reaction assisted by electroporation (10 min instead of 24 h).


Our results indicate that electroporation of cancerous cells in the presence of cyanine dyes could increase the uptake of the photosensitizer, which correlates with a higher cytotoxicity in the breast adenocarcinoma cell line. Electroporation may be an attractive delivery system for photosensitizers in photodynamic therapy, enabling application of new compounds and reduction of drug dose and exposure time.


Photodynamic reaction



Drug delivery


Breast cancer cells

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