About this Research Topic
Low-temperature plasmas (LTP) at atmospheric gas pressure play an increasing role in biomedical applications. The experimentally observed benefits of LTP for these applications are attributed to the controllable fluxes of chemically active species that can be produced in air at near room temperatures and delivered to bio-matter to induce desired effects. Recent research on the biomedical applications of LTP has generated new scientific knowledge regarding the interaction of plasma with soft matter including cells, tissues, seeds, and plants.
The observed effects of LTP on biological cells are mediated by the plasma-produced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). These include hydroxyl, OH, atomic oxygen, O, singlet delta oxygen, O2(1Δ), superoxide, O2-, hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, and nitric oxide, NO. Some of these species are known to play important roles in biology serving as signaling molecules in living organisms. When they come in contact with biological cells these species interact with the lipids and proteins of the cell membrane, enter the cell and increase the intracellular ROS concentrations, which can lead to DNA damage and may compromise the integrity of other cell organelles. ROS and RNS can also trigger cell signaling pathways, which can lead to cellular death by apoptosis or necrosis. Other plasma-generated agents that could play biological roles are charged particles (electrons and ions), UV photons, and electric fields.
The relative importance of different factors on plasma-induced bio-effects remains poorly understood. For example, cold plasma jets exhibit large electric fields that can play a synergistic role by causing cellular electroporation and thus allowing ROS & RNS to enter the cell. The effects described above have already led to the development of many medical and therapeutic applications of LTP including wound healing, dentistry, the destruction of cancer cells and tumors. However, in order to fully utilize the potential of LTP in biomedicine, a better understanding of fundamental physio-chemical processes is required, and novel methods of precise control LTP sources need to be developed.
This Research Topic aims to assemble a collection of papers on:
a) advances in understanding the ignition, generation, and maintenance of LTP at atmospheric gas pressures;
b) characterization of the chemical processes which play crucial roles in the generation of ROS & RNS;
c) new methods for the active control of these processes for biomedical, food processing and agriculture applications.
Experimental studies, theoretical models, computer simulations, and practical applications are of particular interest. These advances can be related to the development of specific plasma-based therapies or reporting on new fundamental understanding of the physical and biochemical pathways whereby LTP affects cells and tissues.
Photo credits: Topic Editor Prof. Mounir Laroussi. This photo shows a plasma jet interacting with biological media.
Keywords: Plasma discharge, Cold plasma, Plasma jets, Reactive species, Medical applications, Wound healing, Cancer
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