A transient protective effect of low-level laser irradiation against disuse-induced atrophy of rats

  • Yung-Ting Kou
  • Hui-Tien Liu
  • Chun-Yin Hou
  • Chuang-Yu Lin
  • Chung-Min Tsai
  • Hsi ChangEmail author
Original Article


Satellite cells, a population of skeletal muscular stem cells, are generally recognized as the main and, possibly, the sole source of postnatal muscle regeneration. Previous studies have revealed the potential of low-level laser (LLL) irradiation in promoting satellite cell proliferation, which, thereby, boosts the recovery of skeletal muscle from atrophy. The purpose of this study is to investigate the beneficial effect of LLL on disuse-induced atrophy. The optimal irradiation condition of LLL (808 nm) enhancing the proliferation of Pax7+ve cells, isolated from tibialis anterior (TA) muscle, was examined and applied on TA muscle of disuse-induced atrophy model of the rats accordingly. Healthy rats were used as the control. On one hand, transiently, LLL was able to postpone the progression of atrophy for 1 week through a reduction of apoptosis in Pax7−veMyoD+ve (myocyte) population. Simultaneously, a significant enhancement was observed in Pax7+veMyoD+ve population; however, most of the increased cells underwent apoptosis since the second week, which suggested an impaired maturation of the population. On the other hand, in normal control rats with LLL irradiation, a significant increase in Pax7+veMyoD+ve cells and a significant decrease of apoptosis were observed. As a result, a strengthened muscle contraction was observed. Our data showed the capability of LLL in postponing the progression of disuse-induced atrophy for the first time. Furthermore, the result of normal rats with LLL irradiation showed the effectiveness of LLL to strengthen muscle contraction in healthy control.


Low-level laser irradiation Disuse-induced atrophy Myoblast Enhanced proliferation Apoptosis Transient protective effect 



We thank our colleague, Yu-Shan Lin, who has contributed to the concepts and experiments in this manuscript.


This study was supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research TMU100-AE1-B10, 101TMU-TMUH-11 from the Taipei Medical University, and the Taipei Medical University Hospital and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research 101-2314-B-038-017-MY3 from the Ministry of Science and Technology, R.O.C., Taiwan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no competing or financial interests. The authors also certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10103_2019_2778_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (123 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1 Experiments in time line. (PPTX 123 kb)
10103_2019_2778_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (436 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2 Disused animal model. (PPTX 435 kb)
10103_2019_2778_MOESM3_ESM.pptx (1.7 mb)
Supplementary Figure 3 Toe lift test. (PPTX 1763 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Shung Ho HospitalTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, College of MedicineTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of MedicineTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Family MedicineTaipei City HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Application, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA)Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsTaipei Medical University HospitalTaipeiTaiwan

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