Melanin-binding colorants: updating molecular modeling, staining and labeling mechanisms, and biomedical perspectives
EntityUAM. Departamento de Biología
https://doi.org/10.3390/colorants1010007Colorants 1.1 (2022): 91-120
Subjectsbiological staining; eumelanin structure; intercalative binding; melanin ligands; melanosomes; melanoma therapy; Biología y Biomedicina / Biología
Rights© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license
Melanin and melanoma tumors are two fields of increasing interest in biomedical research. Melanins are ubiquitous biopigments with adaptive value and multiple functions, and occur in the malignant melanoma. Although several chemical structures have been proposed for eumelanin, molecular modeling and orbitals indicate that a planar or spiral benzoquinone-porphycene polymer would be the model that better explains the broad-band light and ultrasound absorption, electric conductivity, and graphite-like organization shown by X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy. Lysosomes and melanosomes are selectively labeled by vital probes, and melanin also binds to metal cations, colorants, and drugs, with important consequences in pharmacology, pathology, and melanoma therapy. In addition to traditional and recent oncologic treatments, photodynamic, photothermal, and ultrasound protocols represent novel modalities for melanoma therapy. Since eumelanin is practically the ideal photothermal and ultrasound sensitizer, the vibrational decay from photo-excited electrons after NIR irradiation, or the electrochemical production of ROS and radicals after ultrasound absorption, induce an efficient heating or oxidative response, resulting in the damage and death of tumor cells. This allows repetitive treatments due to the remaining melanin contained in tumoral melanophages. Given that evolution and prognosis of the advanced melanoma is still a concern, new biophysical procedures based on melanin properties can now be developed and applied
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