Application of transition metal ions in a study of photoinduced modifications of melanin

  • Andrzej Czesław Żądło Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków


Short wavelength visible light is viewed as the main agent responsible for oxidative modification of melanin in the human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The aim of this research was to study light-induced modifications of melanin using iron and zinc as molecular probes. A synthetic model of eumelanin was treated by intense violet light. The interaction of melanin with metal ions was examined by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and a thiocyanate assay. Weak photodegradation of melanin was shown to increase exposure of melanin subunits, while stronger photodegradation caused a loss of melanin subunits. Iron-binding in such melanin was weak and nonspecific.