Photoproducts of the Photodynamic Therapy Agent Verteporfin Identified via Laser Interfaced Mass Spectrometry

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Verteporfin, a free base benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid ring A, is a photosensitizing drug for photodynamic therapy (PDT) used in the treatment of the wet form of macular degeneration and activated by red light of 689 nm. Here, we present the first direct study of its photofragmentation channels in the gas phase, conducted using a laser interfaced mass spectrometer across a broad photoexcitation range from 250 to 790 nm. The photofragmentation channels are compared with the collision-induced dissociation (CID) products revealing similar dissociation pathways characterized by the loss of the carboxyl and ester groups. Complementary solution-phase photolysis experiments indicate that photobleaching occurs in verteporfin in acetonitrile; a notable conclusion, as photoinduced activity in Verteporfin was not thought to occur in homogenous solvent conditions. These results provide unique new information on the thermal break-down products and photoproducts of this light-triggered drug.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5280
Number of pages13
JournalMolecules (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 by the authors.


  • laser spectroscopy
  • mass spectrometry
  • PDT
  • photo dynamic therapy
  • photofragmentation channels
  • photofragments
  • photolysis
  • photosensitizer
  • verteporfin

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