Oxidative stress, phototherapy and the neonate

Indian J Pediatr. 2000 Nov;67(11):805-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02726223.


Phototherapy is the most widely used form of therapy for unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia. Its non-invasive nature and few side effects reported earlier have led to the assumption that it is innocuous. Recent research has revealed that phototherapy is a photodynamic stress and can induce lipid peroxidation. There is increasing evidence that many severe diseases of the neonate are caused by oxidative injury and lipid peroxidation. In the present communique, we review the oxidative susceptibility of the neonate and the evidence now available that phototherapy induces oxidative stress. Although intensive phototherapy (up to 40 mwatt/cm2/nm) has been reported to be increasingly effective, a little caution, we believe is warranted, till more definite data in the human neonate, help resolve the issue.

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / metabolism
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / therapy*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Phototherapy / adverse effects*


  • Bilirubin