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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2011, Article ID 713726, 11 pages
Review Article

Overview of Cell Death Mechanisms Induced by Rose Bengal Acetate-Photodynamic Therapy

Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology (Di.S.Te.B.A.), University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy

Received 7 July 2011; Accepted 5 September 2011

Academic Editor: Peter Robertson

Copyright © 2011 Elisa Panzarini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive treatment for different pathologies, cancer included, using three key components: non-toxic light-activated drug (Photosensitizer, PS), visible light, and oxygen. Their interaction triggers photochemical reactions leading to Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) generation, that mediate cytotoxicity and cell death. In the present paper, the most important findings about the synthetic dye Rose Bengal Acetate (RBAc), an emerging photosensitizer for its efficient induction of cell death, will be reported with the aim to integrate RBAc phototoxicity to novel therapeutic PDT strategies against tumour cells. After its perinuclear intracellular localization, RBAc causes multiple subcellular organelles damage, that is, mitochondria, Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER), lysosomes, and Golgi complex. Indeed, RBAc exerts long-term phototoxicity through activation of both caspase-independent and- dependent apoptotic pathways and autophagic cell death. In particular, this latter cell death type may promote cell demise when apoptotic machinery is defective. The deep knowledge of RBAc photocytotoxicity will allow to better understand its potential photomedicine application in cancer.