Photodynamic Effects with 5-Aminolevulinic Acid on Cytokines and Exosomes in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells

Biomedicines. 2022 Jan 21;10(2):232. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10020232.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a precursor to the potent photosensitizer, protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), is an established modality for several malignant and premalignant diseases. This treatment is based on the light-activated PpIX in targeted lesions. Although numerous studies have confirmed the necrosis and apoptosis involved in the mechanism of action of this modality, little information is available for the change of exosome levels after treatment. We report from the first study on the effects of ALA-PDT on cytokines and exosomes of human healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The treatment reduced the cytokines and exosomes studied, although there was variation among individual PBMC samples. This reduction is consistent with PDT-mediated survivals of subsets of PBMCs. More specifically, the ALA-PDT treatment apparently decreased all pro-inflammatory cytokines included, suggesting that this treatment may provide a strong anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, the treatment has decreased the levels of different types of exosomes, the HLA-DRDPDQ exosome in particular, which plays an important role in the rejection of organ transplantation as well as autoimmune diseases. These results may suggest future therapeutic strategies of ALA-PDT.

Keywords: 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA); cytokine; electron microscopy; exosome; flow cytometry; peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs); photodynamic diagnosis; photodynamic therapy (PDT); protoporphyrin IX (PpIX).