Organic light-emitting diodes as an innovative approach for treating cutaneous leishmaniasis

Fernanda V. Cabral, Cheng Lian, Saydulla Persheyev, Terry K Smith, Martha S. Ribeiro, Ifor David William Samuel

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Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (APDT) has been studied as a non-invasive therapy for treating cutaneous leishmaniasis to overcome challenges with current treatment, such as toxicity, resistance and need for in-patient hospital treatment. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) have emerged as an attractive technology that can provide wearable light-emitting materials that are conformable to human skin. This makes OLEDs ideal candidates for APDT by light-bandages for ambulatory care. In this work, we successfully develop suitable OLEDs to match the absorbance of three photosensitizers: methylene blue, new methylene blue, and 1,9-dimethyl-methylene blue to inactivate two Leishmania species in vitro: Leishmania major and Leishmania amazonensis. Parasites are treated either by LED (20 mWcm-2) or OLED (6.5 mWcm-2) at increasing photosensitizer concentrations at a radiant exposure of 50 Jcm-2. 1,9-Dimethyl-methylene blue is the most potent photosensitizer, killing both strains at nanomolar concentrations. We also explore the effect of different intensities from the OLEDs (0.7, 1.5, and 6.5 mWcm-2) and show that effective killing of Leishmania occurs even at very low intensity. These findings demonstrate the great potential of OLEDs as a new approach for ambulatory treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis by APDT.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
VolumeEarly View
Early online date8 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jul 2021


  • Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy
  • Flexible light sources
  • Leishmania parasites
  • Low irradiance photodynamic therapy
  • Methylene blue
  • Organic light-emitting diode
  • Phenothiazine photosenitizer


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