In vivo imaging of spontaneous ultraweak photon emission from a rat's brain correlated with cerebral energy metabolism and oxidative stress.
Neurosci Res. 1999 Jul;34(2):103-13. PMID: 10498336
Yamagata Advanced Technology Research and Development Center, Japan.
Living cells spontaneously emit ultraweak light during the process of metabolic reactions associated with the physiological state. The first demonstration of two-dimensional in vivo imaging of ultraweak photon emission from a rat's brain, using a highly sensitive photon counting apparatus, is reported in this paper. It was found that the emission intensity correlates with the electroencephalographic activity that was measured on the cortical surface and this intensity is associated with the cerebral blood flow and hyperoxia. To clarify the mechanism of photon emission, intensity changes from whole brain slices were examined under various conditions. The removal of glucose from the incubation medium suppressed the photon emission, and adding 50 mM potassium ions led to temporal enhancement of emission and subsequent depression. Rotenone (20 microM), an inhibitor of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, increased photon emission, indicating electron leakage from the respiratory chain. These results suggest that the photon emission from the brain slices originates from the energy metabolism of the inner mitochondrial respiratory chain through the production of reactive oxygen. Imaging of ultraweak photon emission from a brain constitutes a novel method, with the potential to extract pathophysiological information associated with neural metabolism and oxidative dysfunction of the neural cells.