Severe but temporary injury to rabbit orbicularis oculi muscle using dihematoporphyrin ether and laser photochemomyectomy

Jonathan D. Wirtschafter, David Paul Slovut, Leif Stordal, Joseph Valentino, Linda Kirschen McLoon

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3 Scopus citations


The use of local dihematoporphyrin ether (DHE) injections, followed by laser light activation, was investigated as a potential permanent myectomy treatment for muscle spasms, in particular blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. DHE was injected into the eyelids of rabbits, followed by laser activation, as used in photochemotherapy. Four days after treatment, histological examination indicated that doses of ≥0.5 mg of DHE and laser treatment with an energy density of at least 100 J/cm2 resulted in an almost total destruction of the orbicularis oculi muscle in the treated eyelid. The amount of muscle injury was dependent on both dose of DHE and energy density levels. Histologically, the tarsal glands and conjunctiva were damaged. Glandular tissue was markedly reduced, and the conjuctival epithelium showed hyperplasia and a loss of mucous cells. Six months after DHE and laser treatment, the majority of the muscle tissue had regenerated, although there was evidence of previous injury. While DHE injections combined with laser light activation were lethal to muscle at the site of treatment, this treatment was not permanent. The orbicularis oculi muscle retained its ability to regenerate. However, photochemomyectomy may be studied further as an adjuvant treatment to temporarily injure and debulk large muscles when botulinum toxin is contraindicated due to the large doses involved or as permanent treatment when used togeter with an antimitotic agent such as doxorubicin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • Blepharospasm
  • Facial muscles
  • Photodynamic therapy


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