Singlet Oxygen In Vivo: It Is All about Intensity

Steffen Hackbarth*, Rayhanul Islam, Vladimír Šubr, Tomáš Etrych, Jun Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


The presented work addresses the influence of illumination intensity on the amount and locations of singlet oxygen generation in tumor tissue. We used time-resolved optical detection at the typical emission wavelength around 1270 nm and at 1200 nm where there is no singlet oxygen phosphorescence to determine the phosphorescence kinetics. The discussed data comprise in vivo measurements in tumor-laden HET-CAM and mice. The results show that illumination that is too intense is a major issue, affecting many PDT treatments and all singlet oxygen measurements in vivo so far. In such cases, photosensitization and oxygen consumption exceed oxygen supply, limiting singlet oxygen generation to the blood vessels and walls, while photosensitizers in the surrounding tissue will likely not participate. Being a limitation for the treatment, on one hand, on the other, this finding offers a new method for tumor diagnosis when using photosensitizers exploiting the EPR effect. In contrast to high-intensity PDT, some papers reported successful treatment with nanoparticular drugs using much lower illumination intensity. The question of whether, with such illumination, singlet oxygen is indeed generated in areas apart from vessels and walls, is addressed by numerical analysis. In addition, we discuss how to perform measurements at such low intensities.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere891
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date28 May 2022
Publication statusEarly online date - 28 May 2022


  • photodynamic therapy
  • singlet oxygen
  • time-resolved phosphorescence
  • illumination intensity


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