What do we measure by a luminol-dependent chemiluminescence of phagocytes?

Free Radic Biol Med. 1989;6(6):623-9. doi: 10.1016/0891-5849(89)90070-1.


The review presents a survey of published findings concerning the mechanism of luminol-dependent chemiluminescence in biological systems. The potential of various oxygen species (superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical) to react with luminol is discussed. The ability of commonly used enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase), inhibitors, and oxygen radical scavengers to discriminate between individual oxygen species is assessed together with the potential of a variety of substances encountered in biological systems to interfere in luminol-dependent chemiluminescence reactions. It is concluded that luminol-dependent chemiluminescence gives at present very little ability to discriminate between individual oxygen or radical species. Furthermore, luminol-dependent chemiluminescence used in biological systems is extremely prone to many interferences, which are very difficult to control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Luminol
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Phagocytes / physiology*


  • Luminol
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Peroxidase