Reduction of vein graft disease using photodynamic therapy with motexafin lutetium in a rodent isograft model

Atsushi Yamaguchi, Kathryn W. Woodburn, Motoya Hayase, Robert C. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background - Motexafin lutetium (Lu-Tex) is a photosensitizer that targets atheromatous plaque. Subsequent photoactivation (photodynamic therapy [PDT]) induces local cytotoxic effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether Lu-Tex targets vein graft intimal hyperplasia and whether subsequent photoactivation attenuates the disease process. Methods and Results - The subcellular localization of Lu-Tex and postillumination viability were studied in cultured human vein graft smooth muscle cells. Inferior vena cava-grafted rats were injected with Lu-Tex (10 mg/kg) 4 or 12 weeks after grafting. Biodistribution was assessed in a subgroup 24 hours after administration. Light therapy (742 nm) was performed 24 hours after Lu-Tex injection by illuminating intraperitoneally placed isografts using a laparotomy. Animals were divided into the following 4 groups: PDT (n=15), Lu-Tex injection and laparotomy (n=13), light treatment (n=14), and laparotomy only (n=13). Grafts were harvested 14 days after treatment for histochemical analysis. Lu-Tex localized within subcellular organelles of smooth muscle cells, and subsequent photoactivation induced cell death via apoptosis. The Lu-Tex concentrations present in the vein grafts were 9.3 times higher than those in the normal inferior vena cava. Postoperative PDT at 4 weeks after surgery significantly reduced the intima/media ratio, whereas treatment at 12 weeks did not reduce the intima/media ratio. Activated macrophages were observed 4 weeks after grafting; however, a significant reduction occurred in these cells by 12 weeks. The mechanism by which PDT works may be related to the presence of activated macrophages. Conclusions - PDT significantly reduces the intima/media ratio in the early phase of vein graft disease. Lu-Tex-mediated PDT may be a viable method for the attenuation of atherosclerotic disease in vein grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)III275-III280
Issue number19
StatePublished - Nov 7 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Angioplasty
  • Bypass
  • Coronary disease
  • Grafting
  • Lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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