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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Jul 27;285(4):1007-11.

Activity-dependent neural tissue oxidation emits intrinsic ultraweak photons.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Science, Kansai Medical University, 10-15 Fumizonocho, Moriguchi, Osaka, 570-8506, Japan.


Living organisms have been known to spontaneously emit ultraweak photons in vivo and in vitro. Origin of the photon emission remains unclear, especially in the nervous system. The spontaneous ultraweak photon emission was detected here from cultured rat cerebellar granule neurons using a photomultiplier tube which was highly sensitive to visible light. The photon emission was facilitated by the membrane depolarization of neurons by a high concentration of K+ and was attenuated by application of tetrodotoxin or removal of extracellular Ca2+, indicating the photon emission depending on the neuronal activity and likely on the cellular metabolism. Furthermore, almost all the photon emission was arrested by 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine, indicating that the photon emission would be derived from oxidized molecules. Detection of the spontaneous ultraweak photon emission will realize noninvasive and real-time monitoring of the redox state of neural tissue corresponding to the neuronal activity and metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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