It is well known that many drugs act as photosensitizers towards cells by interacting with various cellular components such as lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. The structural modifications of the cellular components may occur by direct interactions of the excited states (singlets or triplets) of the drugs with the biological substrate or indirectly, through reactive species of oxygen sensitised by the drug themselves. In particular, the phototoxic activity of various drugs correlated with their potential photomutagenic and photocarcinogenic effects, takes place through DNA modification. Phenothiazines, a class of antihistaminic (anti-H1) or neuroleptic drugs used in the therapy of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, organic psychoses and other mental disorders, are known to induce photosensitization of the skin by systemic use or by topical applications as antiallergic drugs. In this review we have focused our attention on the photosensitizing property of phenothiazines and related compounds both in vitro and in vivo systems. Particular attention has been given to the mechanism of photo reaction with biomolecules such as lipids, proteins and DNA. Moreover there is a growing interest in drugs having photobiological effects because of their possible application as phototherapeutics. It has been interesting in this context to mention briefly the possible application of phenothiazine derivatives as new photosensitizers for their therapeutic application in photodynamic therapy (PDT) or in the light inactivation of viruses and bacteria.
Keywords: SDS-PAGE, Promethazine, Catalase, Bovine serum albumin, Chlorpromazine, NMR
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