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Proceedings Paper

Interactions of monochromatic visible light and near-IR radiation with cells: currently discussed mechanisms
Author(s): Tiina I. Karu
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Paper Abstract

Biological responses of cells to visible and near IR (laser) radiation occur due to physical and/or chemical changes in photoacceptor molecules, components of respiratory chains (cyt a/a3 in mitochondria, and cyt d in E. coli). As a result of the photoexcitation of electronic states, the following physical and/or chemical changes can occur: alteration of redox properties and acceleration of electron transfer, changes in biochemical activity due to local transient heating of chromophores, one-electron auto-oxidation and O2- production, and photodynamic action and 1O2 production. Different reaction channels can be activated to achieve the photobiological macroeffect. The primary physical and/or chemical changes induced by light in photoacceptor molecules are followed by a cascade of biochemical reactions in the cell that do not need further light activation and occur in the dark (photosignal transduction and amplification chains). These reactions are connected with changes in cellular homeostasis parameters. The crucial step here is thought to be an alteration of the cellular redox state: a shift towards oxidation is associated with stimulation of cellular vitality, and a shift towards reduction is linked to inhibition. Cells with a lower than normal pH, where the redox state is shifted in the reduced direction, are considered to be more sensitive to the stimulative action of light than those with the respective parameters being optimal or near optimal. This circumstance explains the possible variations in observed magnitudes of low-power laser effects. Light action on the redox state of a cell via the respiratory chain also explains the diversity of low-power laser effects. Beside explaining many controversies in the field of low-power laser effects (i.e., the diversity of effects, the variable magnitude or absence of effects in certain studies), the proposed redox-regulation mechanism may be a fundamental explanation of some clinical effects of irradiation, for example the positive results achieved in treating wounds, chronic inflammation, and ischemia, all characterized by acidosis and hypoxia.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 1995
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2391, Laser-Tissue Interaction VI, (22 May 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.209921
Show Author Affiliations
Tiina I. Karu, Laser Technology Research Ctr. (Russia)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2391:
Laser-Tissue Interaction VI
Steven L. Jacques, Editor(s)

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