A Light To Our Darkness: Bioluminescence and Its Uses In Medical Research

Gul A. S. D., ARIHAN O.

Eastern Journal of Medicine, vol.28, no.1, pp.68-74, 2023 (Scopus) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/ejm.2023.59862
  • Journal Name: Eastern Journal of Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.68-74
  • Keywords: Bioluminescence, light emission, luciferin, luminescence, medical research
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Bioluminescence refers to the production of light without the need for an external light source, and as such, it differs from the concept of fluorescence. After this phenomenon became reproducible and measurable, bioluminescence began to be used as an investigation and research method in scientific research. Today, bioluminescence is used in most of the medical research fields, especially in cancer and cell culture. Improvements in brighter luminescence and imaging provides much wider areas of non-invasive research in different fields of medical research. Currently research articles can be found in the subjects of neuroscience, immunity, muscular regeneration, dermatology, surgery, microbiology, drug discovery, cardiovascular research and aging. In this review, the concept of bioluminescence and examples of its use in medical research are presented. Scientific literature was reviewed in June 2022. The articles were scanned according to their titles and abstracts, and articles from 2018 and later were included for findings on the use of bioluminescence in medical research. Only English articles are considered for the review. A total of 59 articles were selected and included.