Modifications and oxidation of lipids and proteins in human serum detected by thermochemiluminescence

Luminescence. 2003 Mar-Apr;18(2):90-6. doi: 10.1002/bio.699.


Detection of electronically excited species (EES) in body fluids may constitute an important diagnostic tool in various pathologies. Examples of such products are triplet excited carbonyls (TEC), which can be a source for photon emission in the 400-550 nm range. The aim of the present study was to determine the actual contribution of lipid and protein components (protein carbonyls) to photon emission generated by thermochemiluminescence (TCL) during the heating of biological fluids. In this study, a new TCL Photometer device, designed by Lumitest Ltd, Israel, was used. Samples were heated to a constant temperature of 80 +/- 0.5 degrees C for 280 s and photon emission was measured at several time points. In order to compare the results of TCL measurements to conventional methods of detecting lipid and protein oxidation, each examined sample was also heated in a waterbath at 80 degrees C for 10-280 s. Lipid and protein oxidation were subsequently measured using conventional methods. The TCL of four polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) with three to six double bonds was measured. The elevation of the PUFA TCL amplitude correlated with the increase in the number of double bonds of PUFA. A correlation between the increase in TCL intensity and protein carbonyl generation in bovine serum albumin (BSA) was also observed. In the venous blood serum, our study showed that an increase of TCL intensity during heating reflected the cleavage of TEC of lipid origin. Our study suggests that biological molecules such as proteins, lipids and other molecules, which may become unstable during heating, are capable of generating EES. We demonstrated that a TCL curve can be used as a kinetic model for measuring oxidative processes, which reflects modifications of different molecules involved in the oxidative stress phenomena.

MeSH terms

  • Arachidonic Acids / chemistry
  • Blood Proteins / chemistry*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Kinetics
  • Lipid Peroxides / chemistry
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Malondialdehyde / chemistry
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Serum Albumin / chemistry
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / chemistry
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Thrombolytic Therapy


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Blood Proteins
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Serum Albumin
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Hydrogen Peroxide