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Acridine Photosensitizers


Acridine photosensitizer is one of the most important photosensitizers that has strongly fluorescence properties and has been demonstrated to possess. The acridine photosensitizer has drawn considerable interest as a vital stain and an antitumor agent and has applied in various field, such as engineering, medicine, and biology. The photodynamic effect of acridine photosensitizer was first discovered when study the effect of acridine photosensitizer on the culture of paramecium. Subsequently, the scientists Tappeiner and Jesionek test photodynamic therapy (PDT) using acridine photosensitizer for skin cancers. And acridine photosensitizer as a single agent inhibit the tumor growth in mice in the late 1940s.

Acridine PhotosensitizersFigure 1. The structure of acridine photosensitizer


The acridine photosensitizers are extensively applied to engineering, photodynamic therapy (PDT) and biomedicine. The main applications of acridine photosensitizer as following.

  • Photodynamic Therapy

Since the first photodynamic reaction was reported by Raab in 1900, more and more photosensitizers were applied in photodynamic therapy (PDT). The effect of chemical agent with physical energy from light or radiation were combined by PDT to result in lysis of cells. Recently, the photodynamic effect of acridine photosensitizer on glioblastoma cell viability and growth was investigated by PDT. Glioblastoma cells were treated by unfiltered light-emitting diode light acridine photosensitizer. A dramatic cytocidal effect of acridine photosensitizer was observed when exposed to 10 minutes of white light and there was almost no glioblastoma cells after three days. The results suggest that the striking cytotoxic effect can be achieved in vivo.

Acridine PhotosensitizersFigure 2. Schematic illustration of PDT process by acridine photosensitizer

  • Contrast Agent

The acridine photosensitizer not only apply to PDT, but also is an excellent gross contrast agent as well as an ideal contrast agent for in vivo microscopy. Hence, in the field of neurosurgical oncology, the acridine photosensitizer not merely apply to PDT, but also the acridine photosensitizer used as a contrast agent for macroscopic and microscopic tumor identification. The application may maximize acridine photosensitizer potential use for microscopic tumor eradication in neurosurgery, especially for glioblastomas. In addition, the derivatives of acridine photosensitizer were famous for their therapeutic benefits. A large number of derivatives of acridine photosensitizer were applied as antiprotozoan, antibacterial or anticancer agents.

Acridine PhotosensitizersFigure 3. The acridine photosensitizers were used as contrast agent

  • Interaction with DNA

The interaction of acridine photosensitizer with DNA has been researched for a long time and that is a complex process, including aggregation and disaggregation of both components. Here, the aggregation between acridine photosensitizer with DNA was discussed. In generally, in order to protect against the contact with other molecules, the acridine photosensitizer monomers need to add a little bit NaCl at high DNA concentration. NaCl reduce the acridine binding constant to DNA and subsequently decrease the acridine and DNA aggregation. The results suggest that the interaction of acridine photosensitizers with DNA depend on their relative concentrations that can affect the photosensitizer efficacy in applications.

Acridine PhotosensitizersFigure 4. The acridine photosensitizers interact with DNA

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