Effect of low-intensity (3.75-25 J/cm2) near-infrared (810 nm) laser radiation on red blood cell ATPase activities and membrane structure

J Clin Laser Med Surg. 2004 Apr;22(2):111-7. doi: 10.1089/104454704774076163.


Objective: The biostimulation and therapeutic effects of low-power laser radiation of different wavelengths and light doses are well known, but the exact mechanism of action of the laser radiation with living cells is not yet understood. The aim of the present work was to investigate the effect of laser radiation (810 nm, radiant exposure 3.75-25 J/cm(2)) on the structure of protein and lipid components of red blood cell membranes and it functional properties. The role of membrane ATPases as possible targets of laser irradiation was analyzed.

Background data: A variety of studies both in vivo and in vitro showed significant influence of laser irradiation on cell functional state. At the same time another group of works found no detectable effects of light exposure. Some different explanations based on the light absorption by primary endogenous chromophores (mitochondrial enzymes, cytochromes, flavins, porphyrins) have been proposed to describe biological effects of laser light. It was suggested that optimization of the structural-functional organization of the erythrocyte membrane as a result of laser irradiation may be the basis for improving the cardiac function in patients under a course of laser therapy.

Materials and methods: Human red blood cells or isolated cell membranes were irradiated with low-intensity laser light (810 nm) at different radiant exposures (3.75-25 J/cm(2)) and light powers (fluence rate; 10-400 mW) at 37 degrees C. As the parameters characterizing the structural and functional changes of cell membranes the activities of Na(+)-, K(+)-, and Mg(2+)-ATPases, tryptophan fluorescence of membrane proteins and fluorescence of pyrene incorporated into membrane lipid bilayer were used.

Results: It was found that near-infrared low-intensity laser radiation changes the ATPase activities of the membrane ion pumps in the dose- and fluence rate-dependent manner. At the same time no changes of such integral parameters as cell stability, membrane lipid peroxidation level, intracellular reduced glutathione or oxyhaemoglobin level were observed. At laser power of 10 mW, an increase of the ATPase activity was observed with maximal effect at 12-15 J/cm(2) of light dose (18-26% for the total ATPase activity). At laser power of 400 mW (fluence rate significantly increased), inhibition of ATPases activities mainly due to the inhibition of Na(+)-, K(+)-ATPase was observed with maximal effect at the same light dose of 12-15 J/cm(2) (18-23% for the total ATPase activity). Fractionation of the light dose significantly changed the membrane response to laser radiation. Changes in tryptophan fluorescent parameters of erythrocyte membrane proteins and the increase in lipid bilayer fluidity measured by pyrene monomer/excimer fluorescence ratio were observed.

Conclusions: Near-infrared laser light radiation (810 nm) induced long-term conformational transitions of red blood cell membrane which were related to the changes in the structural states of both erythrocyte membrane proteins and lipid bilayer and which manifested themselves as changes in fluorescent parameters of erythrocyte membranes and lipid bilayer fluidity. This resulted in the modulation of membrane functional properties: changes in the activity of membrane ion pumps and, thus, changes in membrane ion flows.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases