Home Blues OSU Research sings the blues about blue light emission

OSU Research sings the blues about blue light emission


The harmful effects of daily and permanent exposure to blue light from phones, computers and household appliances worsen as a person ages, according to a new study from Oregon State University.

The study, published today inNature Partner Journals Aginginvolved Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, an important model organism because of the cellular and developmental mechanisms it shares with other animals and humans.

Jaga Giebultowicz, a researcher at the OSU College of Science who studies biological clocks, led a collaboration that examined the survival rate of flies kept in the dark and then gradually moved to an environment of constant blue light from light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

Transitions from dark to light occurred at two, 20, 40 and 60 days of age, and the study looked at the effect of blue light on fly cell mitochondria.

Mitochondria act as the powerhouse of a cell, generating adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a source of chemical energy.

As soon as possibleto researchGiebultowicz showed that prolonged exposure to blue light affected the longevity of flies whether or not it shined in their eyes.

“The novel aspect of this new study shows that chronic exposure to blue light can impair energy-producing pathways even in cells that are not specialized in light sensing,” Giebultowicz said. “We determined that specific responses in mitochondria were significantly reduced by blue light, while other responses were decreased with age, independent of blue light. You can think of this as blue light exposure adding an insult to injuries in aging flies.

Yujuan Song, Jun Yang, and David Hendrix of the OSU College of Science, Matthew Robinson of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and Alexander Law and Doris Kretzschmar collaborated with Giebultowicz on the work, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health. from Oregon Health and Science University.

Scientists note that natural light is crucial to a person’s circadian rhythm – the 24-hour cycle of physiological processes such as brainwave activity, hormone production and cell regeneration that are important factors in eating and sleeping habits.

But there is evidence to suggest that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep and circadian rhythm disorders, Giebultowicz said. And with the widespread use of LED lighting and device screens, humans are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum because commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light.

“This technology, LED lighting, even in most developed countries, has not been used long enough to know its effects throughout human life,” she said. “There are growing concerns that prolonged exposure to artificial light, particularly blue-enriched LED light, may be detrimental to human health. Although the full effects of blue light exposure throughout are not yet known in humans, the accelerated aging observed in a short-lived model organism should alert us to the potential for cellular damage caused by this stressor.

In the meantime, there are some things people can do to help themselves that don’t involve sitting for hours in the dark, researchers say. Glasses with amber lenses will filter blue light and protect your retinas. And phones, laptops and other devices can be configured to block blue emissions.

“Our previous work has demonstrated that daily exposure to blue light, but not to other visible wavelengths, has adverse effects on the brain, motor skills and lifespan of the model organism” , said Giebultowicz. “Now we report that the harmful effects of blue light on flies are highly age-dependent – the same duration of exposure to the same intensity of light decreases lifespan and increases neurodegeneration most significantly in older flies. than among young people.

In previous research, flies subjected to daily cycles of 12 hours in light and 12 hours in darkness had shorter lives than flies kept in total darkness or those kept in light with the lengths d filtered blue waves.

Flies exposed to blue light showed damage to their retinal cells and brain neurons and had impaired locomotion – the flies’ ability to scale the walls of their enclosures, a common behavior, was diminished.

Some of the flies in the experiment were mutants that didn’t develop eyes, and even these eyeless flies were deficient, suggesting that the flies didn’t need to see light to be harmed.