Photobiomodulation therapy can change actin filaments of 3T3 mouse fibroblast

  • Ana Carolina de MagalhãesEmail author
  • Zwinglio Guimarães-Filho
  • Elisabeth Mateus Yoshimura
  • Lothar Lilge
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that photobiomodulation therapy might produce in cells, in particular, related to their structure. Thus, this paper presents the results of morphological changes in fibroblasts following low-intensity light illumination. Mouse fibroblasts were grown on glass coverslips on either 4 kPa or 16 kPa gels, to mimic normal tissue conditions. Cells were photo-irradiated with laser light at either 625 nm or 808 nm (total energies ranging from 34 to 47 J). Cells were fixed at 5 min, 1 h, or 24 h after photo-irradiation, stained for both actin filaments and the cell nucleus, and imaged by confocal microscopy. A non-light exposed group was also imaged. A detailed analysis of the images demonstrated that the total polymerized actin and number of actin filaments decrease, while the nucleus area increases in treated cells shortly after photo-irradiation, regardless of substrate and wavelength. This experiment indicated that photobiomodulation therapy could change the morphological properties of cells and affect their cytoskeleton. Further investigations are required to determine the specific mechanisms involved and how this phenomenon is related to the photobiomodulation therapy mechanisms of action.


Photobiomodulation therapy Fibroblasts Actin filaments Low-level light therapy 



This study was funded by Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, CAPES (Proc. No. BEX 3481/14-0), and Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, CNPq, Brazilian funding agencies. Additional support was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through operational funding of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhysicsUniversity of Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.InsperSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Medical BiophysicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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