According to the rule of Bunsen and Roscoe a photochemical reaction is directly proportional to the total energy dose, irrespective of the time through which this dose is delivered. To date few studies have addressed the validity of this rule in experimental and applied photobiology.
Most of these data point to the fact that the rule of reciprocity is invalid or of limited validity for many photobiological reactions. For UV-induced cell death, photocarcinogenesis, psoralen photo-chemistry, and the effects of low level laser radiation it has been shown that at a constant dose the intensity of the source is a major factor that determines quality and quantity of the response. In the clinical photomedicine systematic investigations on the reciprocity of exposure time and radiation intensity are lacking. Such studies are urgently needed since it can be concluded from experimental evidence, that their results might lead to therapeutic regimens with an improved therapeutic index, i. e. maximized therapeutic efficacy with minimized adverse reactions.
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