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Abstract— Previous reports showed that the photosensitizer mono-l-aspartyl chlorin e6 (NPe6) binds to serum proteins. However, the influence of this binding on the cellular uptake and photodynamic therapy (PDT) phototoxicity of NPe6 is still undefined. In this paper, we studied how serum in medium affected the P388 cellular uptake and PDT phototoxicity of NPe6 in vitro. This was assessed by (1) detection of the red shift (654 nm Q band peak of absorption) induced by protein binding NPe6; (2) detection of intracellular concentration of NPe6 by HPLC and (3) measurements of the cell survival ratio after PDT by MTT assay. The 654 nm Q band peak of NPe6 shifted to 665 nm after binding of NPe6 and serum proteins. The protein-bound NPe6 cannot be uptaken by cells, thus there was no PDT phototoxicity. Nevertheless, phototoxicity recovered when the concentration of NPe6 excessed the serum protein binding ability or there was free serum protein in the medium. These data suggested that the cellular uptake of NPe6 is inhibited by serum components in the medium, and that only free NPe6 is accumulated by P388 cells even during relatively long incubations. The cytotoxicity of PDT mainly depends on the free NPe6 level in the medium.