Why is cellular luminescence important?

The phagocyte cellular chemiluminescence response provides insight into some specific diseases like bacterial and viral infections, Diabetes mellitus, arthritis, cancer, etc. Cellular chemiluminescence is also a very sensitive assay for determining the toxicity of environmental or occupational agents on phagocytic cells. Insufficiency and hyperactivity of oxygen-dependent phagocytosis of granulocytes can easily be detected by using cellular chemiluminescence.

How is cellular luminescence measured?

Cellular luminescence has a very low intensity and is thus difficult to detect. To enhance the chemiluminescent effect, substrates that are known to react chemiluminescently with reactive oxygen metabolites can be added and the following light-emission can be detected. Luminol and Lucigenin are very commonly used substances in this kind of assays:

  • Luminol reacts with H2O2 and, as a result, the electronically-activated product emits photons at a wavelength of 425 nm.
  • Lucigenin reacts with O2- that causes emission of light at 470 nm.

This emitted light can be monitored by microplate luminometers with temperature control. The light quantity can be further increased by adding an effective catalysator, such as the enzyme Myeloperoxidase (MPO), that is found in granulocytes and that produces native light emission. MPO reacts with H2O2, O2 and Cl to produce HOCl (hypochlorous acid) that destroys invaded foreign bodies.

Recommended Microplate Readers for Cellular Luminescence