Photodynamic therapy can induce non-specific protective immunity against a bacterial infection

Masamitsu Tanaka, Pawel Mroz, Tianhong Dai, Manabu Kinoshita, Yuji Morimoto, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) for cancer is known to induce an immune response against the tumor, in addition to its well-known direct cell-killing and vascular destructive effects. PDT is becoming increasingly used as a therapy for localized infections. However there has not to date been a convincing report of an immune response being generated against a microbial pathogen after PDT in an animal model. We have studied PDT as a therapy for bacterial arthritis caused by Staphylococcus aureus infection in the mouse knee. We had previously found that PDT of an infection caused by injection of MRSA (5X10 7 CFU) into the mouse knee followed 3 days later by 1 ?g of Photofrin and 635- nm diode laser illumination with a range of fluences within 5 minutes, gave a biphasic dose response. The greatest reduction of MRSA CFU was seen with a fluence of 20 J/cm 2, whereas lower antibacterial efficacy was observed with fluences that were either lower or higher. We then tested the hypothesis that the host immune response mediated by neutrophils was responsible for most of the beneficial antibacterial effect. We used bioluminescence imaging of luciferase expressing bacteria to follow the progress of the infection in real time. We found similar results using intra-articular methylene blue and red light, and more importantly, that carrying out PDT of the noninfected joint and subsequently injecting bacteria after PDT led to a significant protection from infection. Taken together with substantial data from studies using blocking antibodies we believe that the pre-conditioning PDT regimen recruits and stimulates neutrophils into the infected joint which can then destroy bacteria that are subsequently injected and prevent infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiophotonics and Immune Responses VII
StatePublished - 2012
EventBiophotonics and Immune Responses VII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 23 2012Jan 23 2012

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceBiophotonics and Immune Responses VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Bacterial arthritis
  • Biphasic dose response
  • Intra-articular photosensitizer
  • Neutrophil attraction
  • Photodynamic therapy


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