Purpurin 18: A natural anthraquinone with special pharmacological activities

Purpurin 18 is a derivative of chlorophyll, a natural pigment found in green plants and algae.
It can be easily isolated from all kinds of green plants and, thus, it presents an economically feasible source.

Selective destruction of cancer cells possible

Purpurin 18 has been studied as a potential photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT),
This therapy uses the interaction between a photosensitizer such as purpurin 18 and light to specifically destroy diseased cells.

When the photosensitizer is activated by light, reactive oxygen species are formed, which can lead to selective destruction of cancer cells.

Purpurin 18 has several advantages as a photosensitizer, such as easy accessibility, long absorption spectrum, high singlet oxygen quantum yield, and low dark toxicity. However, purpurin 18 also faces some challenges, such as poor water solubility, aggregation tendency, and low tumor selectivity.

Modifications are intended to increase anticancer effectiveness

To overcome these limitations, various strategies have been employed to modify purpurin 18 or incorporate it into different delivery systems, such as nanoparticles, nanofibers, micelles, liposomes, and polymers. These modifications and delivery systems aim to improve the physicochemical properties, stability, bioavailability, biodistribution, and anticancer efficiency of purpurin 18. Several studies have demonstrated the enhanced photodynamic activity of purpurin 18 and its derivatives against various cancer cell lines and animal models. Purpurin 18 is an interesting and promising candidate for PDT and other biomedical applications.

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Pavlíčková, V.; Škubník, J.; Jurášek, M.; Rimpelová, S. Advances in Purpurin 18 Research: On Cancer Therapy. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 2254. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11052254

Yeo, S.; Song, H.H.; Kim, M.J.; Hong, S.; Yoon, I.; Lee, W.K. Synthesis and Design of Purpurin-18-Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles for Improved Anticancer Efficiency of Photodynamic Therapy. Pharmaceutics 2022, 14, 1064. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics14051064

Huang, P., Zhang, B., Yuan, Q. et al. Photodynamic treatment with purpurin 18 effectively inhibits triple negative breast cancer by inducing cell apoptosis. Lasers Med Sci 36, 339–347 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10103-020-03035-w

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