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Ultraweak luminescence and free-radical reactions: a basic mechanism of pathological process development

German O. Stepanov1, Yury A. Vladimirov1,2, Anatoly N. Osipov1, 1 Department of General and Medical biophysics, Medical biological faculty, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia 2 Department of Medical biophysics, Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia


It is difficult to consider any amazing phenomenon from a scientific point of view until such time as there are hard and logical scientific explanations that immediately cease to be associated with something unthinkable. So back in the twenties of the twentieth century, when mitogenetic rays were discovered by A.G. Gruvich could doubt their correctness, but the physical and biophysical approach to their study made the essence of the observed phenomenon clearly understandable. As is known, the emission spectra and action spectra of mitogenetic effects were measured almost immediately, and after the 60-70s, it became clear that from a quantum-molecular point of view, we are talking about the recombination of free radicals, as a result of which molecular products appear in an electronically excited state. It is these products that are considered as a source of electromagnetic radiation, which can be measured using chemiluminescence, and which will differ when different radicals interact.

However, these results were only the beginning, and laid the fundamental physicochemical foundations for understanding normal and pathological processes in biology and medicine.
If already today, we will open the codes of the International Classification of Diseases, we will see that in general they are organized by organ systems, and are divided into diseases of the nervous, endocrine, musculoskeletal, respiratory organs, as well as sections of neoplasms, infectious diseases, defects development and others. But, most importantly, if you look at the intersection of each of the main areas of this classification with the topics of free radicals and antioxidants, then thousands and tens of thousands of articles will be found on each topic in the world scientific peer-reviewed papers. All these works have confirmed what has been found so far may be the only fundamental mechanism that, at the molecular and quantum level, made it possible to study in detail and explain the observed pathological processes from a functional point of view.

For example, one can imagine numerous mechanisms of cell death, such as apoptosis, autophagy, ferroptosis, and others. It is already known that the development of apoptosis is accompanied by free radical oxidation of mitochondrial phospholipids, for phagocytosis to occur, membrane phosphatidylserine must be oxidized and externalized, and in ferroptosis, oxidation of phosphatidylethanolamine with arachidonic acid is more pronounced than others. Surprisingly, all these processes are perfectly observed by chemiluminescence methods in the presence of cytochrome c. At the same time, it was this method that called today to discover a new unique mechanism for switching the development of proaptotic reactions to ferroptotic ones. The same model makes it possible to explain the molecular processes occurring in the treatment of oncology by hyperthermia methods and many others.

These examples are only an infinitesimal part, illustrating the connection between the quantum-molecular mechanisms of the development of a pathological process with the topic of free radicals and luminescent methods for their study.
However, it is these methods that make it possible to obtain information not only about the structural, but most importantly about the functional features of the development of the pathological process, and which are more sensitive. This, in turn, means earlier and more accurate diagnosis, control of treatment and the possibility of early warning of the development of the disease. Thus, answers are gradually being found to questions related to the quantum-molecular mechanisms of the development of pathology, which at first might seem incomprehensible.


German O. Stepanov
Department of General and Medical biophysics, Medical biological faculty, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University


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