Biophoton detection and low-intensity light therapy: a potential clinical partnership

Photomed Laser Surg. 2010 Feb;28(1):23-30. doi: 10.1089/pho.2008.2373.


Low-intensity light therapy (LILT) is showing promise in the treatment of a wide variety of medical conditions. Concurrently, our knowledge of LILT mechanisms continues to expand. We are now aware of LILT's potential to induce cellular effects through, for example, accelerated ATP production and the mitigation of oxidative stress. In clinical use, however, it is often difficult to predict patient response to LILT. It appears that cellular reduction/oxidation (redox) state may play a central role in determining sensitivity to LILT and may help explain variability in patient responsiveness. In LILT, conditions associated with elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, e.g. diabetic hyperglycemia, demonstrate increased sensitivity to LILT. Consequently, assessment of tissue redox conditions in vivo may prove helpful in identifying responsive tissues. A noninvasive redox measure may be useful in advancing investigation in LILT and may one day be helpful in better identifying responsive patients. The detection of biophotons, the production of which is associated with cellular redox state and the generation of ROS, represents just such an opportunity. In this review, we will present the case for pursuing further investigation into the potential clinical partnership between biophoton detection and LILT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Microsomes / radiation effects
  • Mitochondria / radiation effects
  • Oxidation-Reduction / radiation effects*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Photons
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Adenosine Triphosphate