Introduction to Plasma Medicine

  • Thomas von Woedtke
  • Anke Schmidt
  • Sander Bekeschus
  • Kristian Wende


With a supply of energy, physical plasma is formed by the ionization of atoms or molecules of a gas. Plasmas applicable in medicine are generated in an atmospheric environment. Biological plasma effects that are potentially useful for medical applications are mainly mediated via changes to the liquid cell and tissue environment by reactive (redox-active) oxygen and nitrogen species. Because many of the plasma-generated reactive species are part of regular physiological and biochemical processes in mammalian cells, organisms have effective systems to respond to exogenous challenges from reactive species. Low plasma treatment intensities (short treatment times) give rise to an activation of cells that is the main basis for plasma-supported wound healing. Frequently, an increase in signaling protein production as well as changes in cell motility and metabolism, or changes in cell contact and anchorage proteins are observed. Higher plasma treatment intensities (longer treatment times) result in cell inactivation by induction of apoptosis, which may open new avenues in cancer treatment.


Plasma medicine Cold atmospheric plasma Biological plasma effects Redox biology 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas von Woedtke
    • 1
  • Anke Schmidt
    • 2
  • Sander Bekeschus
    • 3
  • Kristian Wende
    • 3
  1. 1.Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP Greifswald) and University Medicine Greifswald, Institute for Hygiene and Environmental MedicineGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP Greifswald)GreifswaldGermany
  3. 3.Center for Innovation Competence (ZIK) “plasmatis—plasma plus cell”, Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP Greifswald)GreifswaldGermany

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