Indocyanine green as effective antibody conjugate for intracellular molecular targeted photodynamic therapy

Sijia Wang, Gereon Hüttmann, Florian Rudnitzki, Heyke Diddens-Tschoeke, Zhenxi Zhang, Ramtin Rahmanzadeh*

*Corresponding author for this work


The fluorescent dye indocyanine green (ICG) is clinically approved and has been applied for ophthalmic and intraoperative angiography, measurement of cardiac output and liver function, or as contrast agent in cancer surgery. Though ICG is known for its photochemical effects, it has played a minor role so far in photodynamic therapy or techniques for targeted protein-inactivation. Here, we investigated ICG as an antibody-conjugate for the selective inactivation of the protein Ki-67 in the nucleus of cells. Conjugates of the Ki-67 antibody TuBB-9 with different amounts of ICG were synthesized and delivered into HeLa and OVCAR-5 cells through conjugation to the nuclear localization sequence. Endosomal escape of the macromolecular antibodies into the cytoplasm was optically triggered by photochemical internalization with the photosensitizer BPD. The second light irradiation at 690 nm inactivated Ki-67 and subsequently caused cell death. Here, we show that ICG as an antibody-conjugate can be an effective photosensitizing agent. Best effects were achieved with 1.8 ICG molecules per antibody. Conjugated to antibodies, the ICG absorption peaks vary proportionally with concentration. The absorption of ICG above 650 nm within the optical window of tissue opens the possibility of selective Ki-67 inactivation deep inside of tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number078001
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2016


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