Initiation of apoptosis and autophagy by photodynamic therapy

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This study was designed to examine modes of cell death after photodynamic therapy (PDT). Murine leukemia L1210 cells and human prostate Box-deficient DU-145 cells were examined after PDT-induced photodamage to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Previous studies indicated that this treatment resulted in a substantial loss of Bcl-2 function. Both apoptosis and autophagy occurred in L1210 cells after ER photodamage with the latter predominating after 24 hr. These processes were characterized by altered cellular morphology, chromatin condensation, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and formation of vacuoles containing cytosolic components. Western blots demonstrated processing of LC3-I to LC3-II, a marker for autophagy. In DU145 cells, PDT initiated only autophagy. Phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase inhibitors suppressed autophagy in both cell lines as indicated by inhibition of vacuolization and LC3 processing. Inhibitors of apoptosis and/or autophagy were then used to delineate the contributions of the two pathways to the effects of PDT. Given the ability of autophagy to upregulate MHC-11 peptide presentation, autophagy may play a role in the ability of photodynamic therapy to stimulate immunologic recognition of target cells. ©2006 Landes Bioscience.

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