Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 1373–1380 | Cite as

Photobiomodulation can alter mRNA levels cell death-related

  • Pierre Augusto Victor da SilvaEmail author
  • Lúcia Mara Januário Dos Anjos
  • Thais Fraga Abduch
  • Rafael Pereira
  • Adenilson de Souza da Fonseca
  • Flávia de Paoli
Original Article


Photobiomodulation (PBM) by low-level laser has demonstrated excellent results for inflammatory treatments, promoting repair of injured tissues. Knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms involved in this process has been increasing, but its effect on cell death/survival-related gene expression after laser irradiation with different doses is not well understood. So, it is important to know these effects in order to guarantee the safety of therapeutic protocols based on PBM. This study aimed to investigate the mRNA levels of genes related to proteins involved in cell death/survival pathways of healthy tissues from talocrural joint of mice after PBM. Mice were divided into three groups: control, PBM at 3 J cm−2, and PBM at 30 J cm−2. Laser irradiation was performed on talocrural joint during four consecutive days. Morphological analyses, immunocytochemistry, FasL, Fas, Bax, Apaf1, Caspase9, Caspase3, Caspase6, Bcl2 mRNA levels, and DNA fragmentation were performed to verify cell death induction after laser irradiation. PBM can increase mRNA levels of almost genes pro-apoptotic. On the other hand, mRNA level of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 gene was not significantly altered. Bcl-2/Bax ratio (indicator of protective molecular response) was decreased after PBM at 30 J cm−2, trending to DNA fragmentation. Results obtained in this study indicate that PBM by low-level infrared laser alters mRNA relative levels of genes involved in cell death pathways. However, these molecular alterations were not able to cause DNA fragmentation in cells in talocrural joint tissues, indicating that infrared laser was not enough to cause cell death.


Photobiomodulation Apoptosis Bcl-2/Bax ratio Caspase DNA fragmentation 





Gallium arsenide aluminum


Adenosine monophosphate cyclic


“Apoptotic protease-activating factor 1” or apoptosis factor 1 activating protease


Adenosine triphosphate


Member of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family


Member of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family


B cell lymphoma protein 2


Member of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family


Member of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family


Member of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family


Cysteine-specific protease aspartyl


Complementary deoxyribonucleic acid


Death-inducing signaling complex


Deoxyribonucleic acid


Reactive oxygen species


“Fas-associated death domain” or FAS-associated death domain

FAS or CD95 or APO-1

Pro-apoptosis membrane receptor or protein

FAS-L or CD95L

FAS-binding membrane protein


Interleukin 1


Interleukin 17


Joules per square centimeters


Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation




Matrix metalloproteinases






Saline phosphate-buffered solution


Polymerase chain reaction


Ribonucleic acid


Reactive nitrogen species


Truncated BID


Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase


Transforming growth factor β


Tumor necrosis factor


TNF receptor


Peroxidase-labeled antibody used for the detection of apoptosis (programmed cell death) with the TUNEL reaction followed by microscopy



This study was supported by Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento-CNPq (process number APQ 474405/2013–3) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais-FAPEMIG (process number APQ 02123/15).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019
corrected publication 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Augusto Victor da Silva
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lúcia Mara Januário Dos Anjos
    • 2
  • Thais Fraga Abduch
    • 3
  • Rafael Pereira
    • 4
  • Adenilson de Souza da Fonseca
    • 5
  • Flávia de Paoli
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de FisioterapiaCentro Universitário Redentor (UniRedentor)Itaperuna / Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Juiz de ForaJuiz de ForaBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Fisioterapia, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas e da Saúde (SUPREMA)Juiz de ForaBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Estadual do Sudoeste da Bahia (UESB)JequiéBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de Biofísica e Biometria, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcantara GomesUniversidade do Estado do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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