Excessive screen use has been linked to obesity and psychological problems. Now a study has identified a new problem: “Excessive exposure to blue light from everyday devices, such as TVs, laptops and phones, can have detrimental effects on a wide range of people. range of cells of our body, from skin and fat cells, to sensory neurons» warns Jadwiga Giebultowicz, from Oregon State University and lead author of a study published in «Frontiers in Aging». “We are the first to show that the levels of specific metabolites – chemicals essential for cells to function properly – are altered in fruit flies exposed to blue light.”
“Our study suggests that avoid excessive exposure to blue light it can be a good anti-aging strategy,” advises Giebultowicz. Researchers have previously shown that fruit flies exposed to light “turn on” stress-protective genes, and that those kept in constant darkness lived longer.
“To understand why high-energy blue light is responsible for accelerating aging in fruit flies, we compared metabolite levels in flies exposed to blue light for two weeks with those kept in complete darkness,” explains Giebultowicz. .
Exposure to blue light caused significant differences in the levels of metabolites measured by the researchers in the cells of the flies’ heads. Specifically, they found that levels of the metabolite succinate increased, but those of glutamate decreased.
The cells are operating at a suboptimal level, and this can cause their premature death
“Succinate is essential for producing the fuel for the function and growth of every cell. The elevated levels of succinate after exposure to blue light can be compared to gasoline that is at the pump but does not get into the car,” says Giebultowicz.
“Another worrying finding was that molecules responsible for communication between neurons, such as glutamate, are at the lowest level after exposure to blue light.”
The changes recorded by the researchers suggest that the cells are operating at a suboptimal level, and this may cause their premature death, and further explain their earlier findings that blue light accelerates ageing.
“LEDs have become the main screen lighting such as those from telephones, desktop computers, and televisions, as well as ambient lighting, so humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting during most of their waking hours. The chemical substances The signaling pathways in fly and human cells are the same, so there is a potential for blue light to have negative effects in humans,” explains Giebultowicz.
Future work is expected to study the effects directly on human cells.
“We use a fairly intense blue light on the flies; humans are exposed to less intense light, so cell damage may be less dramatic.” The results of this study suggest that future research with human cells is needed to establish to what extent human cells may show similar changes in metabolites involved in energy production in response to excessive exposure to blue light,” concludes Giebultowicz.