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Hypericin-mediated Photocytotoxic Effect on HT-29 Adenocarcinoma Cells Is Reduced by Light Fractionation with Longer Dark Pause Between Two Unequal Light Doses


*To whom correspondence should be addressed: Institute of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences, P.J. Šafárik University, Moyzesova 11, 041 65 Košice, Slovakia. Fax: ++421-55-6222124; e-mail:


The present study demonstrates the in vitro effect of hypericin-mediated PDT with fractionated light delivery. Cells were photosensitized with unequal light fractions separated by dark intervals (1 or 6 h). We compared the changes in viability, cell number, survival, apoptosis and cell cycle on HT-29 cells irradiated with a single light dose (12 J/cm2) to the fractionated light delivery (1 + 11 J/cm2) 24 and 48 h after photodynamic treatment. We found that a fractionated light regime with a longer dark period resulted in a decrease of hypericin cytotoxicity. Both cell number and survival were higher after light sensitization with a 6-h dark interval. DNA fragmentation occurred after a single light-dose application, but in contrast no apoptotic DNA formation was detected with a 6-h dark pause. After fractionation the percentage of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle was increased, while the proportion of cells in the G2 phase decreased as compared to a single light-dose application, i.e. both percentage of cells in the G1 and G2 phase of the cell cycle were near control levels. We presume that the longer dark interval after the irradiation of cells by first light dose makes them resistant to the effect of the second illumination. These findings confirm that the light application scheme together with other photodynamic protocol components is crucial for the photocytotoxicity of hypericin.