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Trends Mol Med. 2018 Jun;24(6):527-541. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2018.04.004. Epub 2018 May 8.

Chemiexcitation and Its Implications for Disease.

Author information

1
Departments of Therapeutic Radiology and Dermatology, and Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8040, USA. Electronic address: douglas.brash@yale.edu.
2
Departments of Therapeutic Radiology and Dermatology, and Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8040, USA.
3
Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo 05513-970 SP, and Departamento de Ciências Exatas e da Terra, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Diadema, São Paulo 09972-270 SP, Brazil.

Abstract

Quantum mechanics rarely extends to molecular medicine. Recently, the pigment melanin was found to be susceptible to chemiexcitation, in which an electron is chemically excited to a high-energy molecular orbital. In invertebrates, chemiexcitation causes bioluminescence; in mammals, a higher-energy process involving melanin transfers energy to DNA without photons, creating the lethal and mutagenic cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer that can cause melanoma. This process is initiated by NO and O2- radicals, the formation of which can be triggered by ultraviolet light or inflammation. Several chronic diseases share two properties: inflammation generates these radicals across the tissue, and the diseased cells lie near melanin. We propose that chemiexcitation may be an upstream event in numerous human diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Parkinson’s disease; chemiexcitation; deafness; macular degeneration; melanin; triplet state

PMID:
29751974
PMCID:
PMC5975183
[Available on 2019-06-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.molmed.2018.04.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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