Photoactivation of pheophorbide a induces a mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in Jurkat leukaemia cells

Won Young Lee, Dae Seog Lim, Si Hwan Ko, Young Jae Park, Kang Sun Ryu, Mi Young Ahn, Yong Rok Kim, Dai Woon Lee, Chang Whan Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanism of cell death by pheophorbide a (Pba) which has been established to be a potential photosensitizer was examined in experimental photodynamic therapy (PDT) on Jurkat cells, a human lymphoid tumor cell line. In 30-60 min after irradiation, Pba treated cells exhibited apoptotic features including membrane blebbing and DNA fragmentation. Pba/PDT caused a rapid release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytosol. Sequentially, activation of caspase-3 and the cleavage of poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) were followed. Meanwhile, no evidence of activation of caspase-8 was indicated in the cells. In experiments with caspase inhibitors, it was found that caspase-3 alone was sufficient initiator for the Pba-induced apoptosis of the cells. Pba specific emission spectra were confirmed in the mitochondrial fraction and the light irradiation caused a rapid change in its membrane potential. Thus, mitochondria were entailed as the crucial targets for Pba as well as a responsible component for the cytochrome c release to initiate apoptotic pathways. Taken together, it was concluded that the mode of Jurkat cell death by Pba/PDT is an apoptosis, which is initiated by mitochondrial cytochrome c release and caspase-3-pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Sept 8

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the research grants from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Photoactivation of pheophorbide a induces a mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in Jurkat leukaemia cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this