Photodynamic Therapy and Antibacterial Activities of a Novel Synthesized Quaternary Zn-Cu-In-S/ZnS QDs- mTHPP Porphyrin Conjugate

Int J Nanomedicine. 2022 Nov 15:17:5315-5325. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S382302. eCollection 2022.


Background: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive treatment modality that destroys abnormally growing cells or microorganisms. Porphyrins are used as photosensitizers in PDT; however, their clinical application has been limited by their poor water solubility, resulting in aggregation and low quantum yields of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Methods: To overcome these limitations and improve PDT efficacy, we herein report the conjugation of ZnCuInS/ZnS (ZCIS/ZnS) quantum dots (QDs) to 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(3-hydroxyphenyl)porphyrin (mTHPP). The optimal conditions for QDs porphyrin conjugation formation were systematically evaluated.

Discussion: This study further assessed the PDT efficacy and antibacterial potency of the synthesized ZCIS/ZnS-mTHPP conjugates. The PDT efficacy of the QDs, mTHPP, and conjugate was evaluated against the murine metastatic melanoma (B16 F10 Nex2) cell line. This was performed with and without LED irradiation.

Results: The conjugate exhibited the highest reduction in cell viability following LED irradiation (72%) compared to the bare QDs (19%) and mTHPP (1%). Antimicrobial studies conducted on E. coli showed that the conjugation exhibits a higher antibacterial effect than the bare QDs, even without light.

Conclusion: The results suggest that conjugate is a promising class of materials for anti-cancer and antimicrobial PDT.

Keywords: 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(hydroxyphenyl)porphyrin; Zn-Cu-In-S/ZnS QDs; antibacterial activity; mTHPP; murine metastatic melanoma (B16F10-Nex2); photodynamic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli
  • Mice
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Porphyrins* / pharmacology
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Zinc


  • zinc sulfide
  • tetra(3-hydroxyphenyl)porphine
  • ZCIS
  • Porphyrins
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Zinc