Optical EngineeringFluorescence detection and photodynamic activity of endogenous protoporphyrin in human skin
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Human skin shows a strong autofluorescence in the red spectral region with main peaks around 600, 620, and 640 nm caused by the porphyrin production of the gram positive lipophile skin bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. Irradiation of these bacteria reduces the integral fluorescence intensity and induces the formation of photoproducts with fluorescence bands around 670 nm and decay times of about 1 and 5 ns. The photoproduct formation is connected with an increased absorption in the red spectral region. The endogenous fluorescent porphyrins act as photosensitizers. Photodestruction of Propionibacteria acnes by visible light appears therefore to be a promising therapy. The photodynamic activity of the photoproducts is lower than that of protoporphyrin IX.