Non-invasive monitoring of oxidative skin stress by ultraweak photon emission (UPE)-measurement. I: mechanisms of UPE of biological materials.Skin Res Technol. 2008 Feb; 14(1):103-11.SR
Oxidation of proteins and amino acids is associated with generation of ultraweak photon emission (UPE), which may be used to assess oxidative processes in the skin in a non-invasive way. This first part of a series of reports addresses the physicochemical basis of oxidation-induced UPE in the skin, with a special focus on the contribution of amino acid oxidation.
UPE of biological samples and protein/amino acid solutions following oxidation with H(2)O(2) in the presence of Fe(2+) was recorded using a sensitive photomultiplier system. Signals were analyzed with regard to overall signal intensity and spectral distribution.
Increasing concentrations of H(2)O(2) in aqueous bovine serum albumin solutions induced linearly correlated UPE and protein carbonyl compounds, with a substantially higher sensitivity for the measurement of UPE. In single amino acid solutions, strong UPE signals were generated by oxidation from Phe, Trp, His, and Cys, and weak signals from Lys and Thr. Analysis of reaction products by MS revealed high oxidative material turnover for Cys and His, whereas barely detectable oxidative material turnover seems to be sufficient to generate a UPE signal of similar strength from Trp and Phe. Combination of different amino acids did not result in a simple addition of individual oxidation-induced UPE signals, but in interactions ranging from antagonism to clear synergism. Synergism was evident between Trp- and UPE-generating amino acids such as Thr, Cys, and His, with the strongest synergism by far observed between Trp and His. The strikingly different individual UPE spectra of His and Trp, despite being of comparable overall strength, were congruent with a pure Trp UPE spectrum after combining His with Trp in solution, indicating energy transfer between both amino acids. Combination of Trp and DNA, which also gives UPE signals following oxidation, did not result in a synergistically enhanced or antagonized overall UPE signal, but in a simple addition of individual UPE signals.
Measurement of UPE could be proven to be a highly sensitive method to assess oxidative processes in biological molecules. The reported data indicate that UPE generated by oxidation stressed skin is mainly due to non-fluorescent photon emission via Trp, whereby Trp acts as an energy receptor from other excited species of oxidation-modified amino acids.