In vitro photodynamic effect of phycocyanin against breast cancer cells

Subramaniyan Bharathiraja, Hansu Seo, Panchanathan Manivasagan, Madhappan Santha Moorthy, Suhyun Park, Jungwan Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


C-phycocyanin, a natural blue-colored pigment-protein complex was explored as a novel photosensitizer for use in low-level laser therapy under 625-nm laser illumination. C-phycocyanin produced singlet oxygen radicals and the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were raised in extended time of treatment. It did not exhibit any visible toxic effect in the absence of light. Under 625-nm laser irradiation, c-phycocyanin generated cytotoxic stress through ROS induction, which killed MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells depending on concentrations. Different fluorescent staining of laser-treated cells explored apoptotic cell death characteristics like the shrinking of cells, cytoplasmic condensation, nuclei cleavage, and the formation of apoptotic bodies. In conclusion, phycocyanin is a non-toxic fluorescent pigment that can be used in low-level light therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1470
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI.


  • Laser therapy
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Phycocyanin
  • Reactive oxygen species


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