Activation of flavin-containing oxidases underlies light-induced production of H2O2 in mammalian cells

Philip E. Hockberger*, Timothy A. Skimina, Victoria E. Centonze, Colleen Lavin, Su Chu, Soheil Dadras, Janardan K. Reddy, John G. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


Violet-blue light is toxic to mammalian cells, and this toxicity has been linked with cellular production of H2O2. In this report, we show that violet-blue light, as well as UVA, stimulated H2O2 production in cultured mouse, monkey, and human cells. We found that H2O2 originated in peroxisomes and mitochondria, and it was enhanced in cells over-expressing flavin-containing oxidases. These results support the hypothesis that photoreduction of flavoproteins underlies light-induced production of H2O2 in cells. Because H2O2 and its metabolite, hydroxyl radicals, can cause cellular damage, these reactive oxygen species may contribute to pathologies associated with exposure to UVA, violet, and blue light. They may also contribute to phototoxicity often encountered during light microscopy. Because multiphoton excitation imaging with 1,047-nm wavelength prevented light-induced H2O2 production in cells, possibly by minimizing photoreduction of flavoproteins, this technique may be useful for decreasing phototoxicity during fluorescence microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6255-6260
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 25 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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