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J Phys Chem B. 2005 May 12;109(18):8570-3.

Lifetime and diffusion of singlet oxygen in a cell.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, and Department of Physiology, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Arhus, Denmark.


In time- and spatially resolved experiments, singlet molecular oxygen, O(2)(a(1)Delta(g)), was created in a single nerve cell upon irradiation of a sensitizer incorporated in the cell nucleus using a focused laser beam. The singlet oxygen thus produced was detected by its infrared phosphorescence. Data obtained indicate that, contrary to common perception, this reactive species can be quite long-lived in a cell and, as such, can diffuse over appreciable distances including across the cell membrane into the extra-cellular environment. These results provide a new perspective for mechanistic studies of photoinduced cell death and intracellular signaling.

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