Lipofuscin is a photoinducible free radical generator

Mike Boulton, Alexander Dontsov, John Jarvis-Evans, Mikhail Ostrovsky, Dimitri Svistunenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Scopus citations


Despite the association between high concentrations of the age pigment lipofuscin and various age-related pathologies, there is contention as to whether or not the intracellular accumulation of such granules has an adverse effect on cell function. In this paper, we present evidence to indicate that lipofuscin is a photoinducible free radical generator. White light irradiation of lipofuscin granules resulted in the production of superoxide anions, their rate of production increasing with increased light intensity. This effect appeared to be maximal in the blue light region of the spectrum. We speculate that lipofuscin could be detrimental to bodily functions through free radical generation initiated either by light or interaction with endogenous free radicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-204
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, B: Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1993


  • Free radicals
  • Lipofuscin
  • Photoinducible
  • Retinal pigment epithelium.
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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  • Cite this

    Boulton, M., Dontsov, A., Jarvis-Evans, J., Ostrovsky, M., & Svistunenko, D. (1993). Lipofuscin is a photoinducible free radical generator. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, B: Biology, 19(3), 201-204.