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Singlet oxygen in photosensitization.

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Institute of Physics, Oslo University; Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, N-0310 Oslo, Norway.


Oxygen is a ubiquitous element and a vitally important substance for life on the Earth, and especially for human life. Living organisms need oxygen for most, if not all, of their cellular functions. On the other hand, oxygen can produce metabolites that are toxic and potentially lethal to the same cells. Being reactive and chemically unstable reactive oxygen species (ROS) are the most important metabolites that initiate reduction and oxidation (redox) reactions under physiological conditions. Oxygen in its excited singlet state (1O2) is probably the most important intermediate in such reactions. Since the discovery of oxygen by Joseph Priestley in 1775 it has been recognized that oxygen can be both beneficial and harmful to life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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