Photohemolysis Sensitized by the Furocoumarin Imperatorin and Its Oxyfunctionatized Derivatives


*Department of Medical and Biological Physics, Russian State Medical University, Ostrovityanova street 1, Moscow 117869, Russia. Fax: +7(095)2467175; e-mail:


Abstract— The dark and photosensitized (366 nm) hemolytic effects of imperatorin and its photooxidation products, the hydroperoxides I and II as well as the corresponding alcohol of the hydroperoxide I (imperatorin alcohol), were studied on human erythrocytes. Imperatorin was shown to photosensitize hemolysis, its fluence (D) dependence of the rate of photohemolysis (V) followed the equation V = V0+ aD2+ bD1/2 in which V0 is the dark hemolysis rate and a and b are constants. At fluences below 200 kJ/m2 the main hemolytic contribution derives from the bD1/2 component, which is due to the in situ formation of the imperatorin hydroperoxides, while at fluences higher than 200 kJ/m2 the main contribution corresponds to the aD2 component due to the two-photon damage of cell membranes. Hydroperoxides I and II induce oxyhemoglobin cross-linking, as well as its conversion to methemoglobin and hemichrome. These reactions involve hydroxyl and alkoxy radicals, as the hemolysis and oxyhemoglobin conversion could be inhibited by t-butanol and butylated hydrotoluene. For comparison, the dark hemolytic effect of the imperatorin alcohol was approximately 10-fold less than of the hydroperoxides.