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Indocyanine green: Photosensitizer or chromophore? Still a debate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1897
Number of pages27
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


Indocyanine green (ICG) is a water-soluble anionic tricarbocyanine dye developed during the Second World War that was first approved for clinical use in humans in 1956. The main features of ICG that make it suitable for bioimaging applications are its near infrared absorption and its fluorescence. Although ICG is mainly used for its fluorescence emission properties, it has also been hypothesized that it can serve as a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy applications, eliciting cytotoxic effects both in vitro and in vivo when used in combination with light at wavelengths in the region of 800-830 nm. Moreover, ICG can be used for hyperthermia of enhanced-photocoagulation of blood vessels treatment. In this paper we have gathered all the available data concerning the use of ICG for different treatments.


  • Cytotoxic effects, Fluorescence, Hyperthermia, Indocyanine Green (ICG), Photodynamic therapy (PDT), Selective photocoagulation, Site-specific therapy