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Time-resolved Luminescence and Singlet Oxygen Formation After Illumination of the Hypericin–Low-density Lipoprotein Complex

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*Corresponding author email: jancura@upjs.sk (Daniel Jancura)

Abstract

Time-resolved fluorescence and phosphorescence study of hypericin (Hyp) in complex with low-density lipoproteins (LDL) as well as the evolution of singlet oxygen formation and annihilation after illumination of Hyp/LDL complexes at room temperature are presented in this work. The observed shortening of the fluorescence lifetime of Hyp at high Hyp/LDL molar ratios (>25:1) proves the self-quenching of the excited singlet state of monomeric Hyp at these concentration ratios. The very short lifetime (∼0.5 ns) of Hyp fluorescence at very high Hyp/LDL ratios (>150:1) suggests that at high local Hyp concentration inside LDL molecules fast and ultrafast nonradiative decay processes from excited singlet state of Hyp become more important. Contrary to the lifetime of the singlet excited state, the lifetime (its shorter component) of Hyp phosphorescence is not dependent on Hyp/LDL ratio in the studied concentration range. The amount of singlet oxygen produced as well as the integral intensity of Hyp phosphorescence after illumination of Hyp/LDL complexes resemble the dependence of the concentration of molecules of Hyp in monomeric state on Hyp/LDL until a concentration ratio of 60:1. This fact confirms that only monomeric Hyp is able to produce the excited triplet state of Hyp, which in aerobic conditions leads to singlet oxygen production. The value of singlet oxygen lifetime (∼8 μs) after its formation from the excited triplet state of Hyp in LDL proves that molecules of singlet oxygen remain for a certain period of time inside LDL particles and are not immediately released to the aqueous surrounding. That Hyp exists in the complex with LDL in the monodeprotonated state is also demonstrated.

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