Photodynamic Alzheimer's disease therapy: From molecular catalysis to photo-nanomedicine

Yunjie Xu, Hao Xiong, Bin Zhang, Injun Lee, Jianlei Xie, Mingle Li, Han Zhang, Jong Seung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a major form of dementia, closely associated with the filamentous assembly of amyloid-β (Aβ) and Tau protein in the brain, which can cause memory and learning deficits. Over the world, developing available AD drugs has been considered as one of the major goals in AD research not only for pharmacology but also for chemistry and biomedicine. However, current strategies to treat AD disease are mainly based on chemotherapy, while very limited AD drugs have been approved by FDA. As an alternative, recently great efforts have been dedicated to employing the photodynamic therapy (PDT) approach to intervene the AD-related protein (e.g., amyloid-β and Tau) aggregations via photon-triggered reactive oxygen species generation. Although photodynamic AD therapy remains in its infancy and many concerns need to be dissolved, it is still believed to serve as a promising alternative to reverse the dilemma of Alzheimer's treatment. With this hope in mind, here we aim to draw a blueprint for this emerging area. In this review, we not only summarize the photochemical principles of AD therapy and the states-of-the-art photodynamic molecules/photo-nanomedicine that are capable of regulating the AD pathological proteins, but also, also the most important, overview the pros and cons of photodynamic AD therapy and give some suggestions for overcoming the challenges in this field. It is our hope that the progress made to date, as summarized in this paper, can inspire future efforts to seek out more promising photochemical approaches, better fitting the clinical requirements of AD therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214726
JournalCoordination Chemistry Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Creative Research Initiatives project (Grant No. 2018R1A3B1052702, J.S.K), the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 82192865 ), the Basic and Applied Research Foundation of Guangdong Province (2020A1515010787), and the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee (KCXFZ20201221173413038, JCYJ20190806163209126). We also acknowledge the support of the Brain Pool Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (Grant No. 2020H1D3A1A02080172, M.L.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid-β
  • Photo-nanomedicine
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Tau protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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