Low-level laser therapy accelerates collateral circulation and enhances microcirculation

Photomed Laser Surg. 2005 Jun;23(3):289-94. doi: 10.1089/pho.2005.23.289.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on collateral circulation and microcirculation if a blood vessel is occluded.

Background data: Investigators have attempted prostaglandin and ultrasound therapy to promote improvements in the vascular bed of deprived tissue after an injury, which may lead to occlusion of the blood vessels.

Materials and methods: Thirty-four adult rabbits were used in this study, two of them considered 0-h reading group, while the rest were divided into two equal groups, with 16 rabbits each: control and those treated with LLLT. Each rabbit underwent two surgical operations; the medial aspect of each thigh was slit, the skin incised and the femoral artery exposed and ligated. The site of the operation in the treated group was irradiated directly following the operation and for 3 d after, one session daily for 10 min/session. The laser system used was a gallium-aluminum-arsenide (Ga-Al-As) diode laser with a wavelength of 904 nm and power of 10 mW. Blood samples collected from the femoral artery above the site of the ligation were sent for examination with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to determine the levels of adenosine, growth hormone (GH) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF). Tissue specimens collected from the site of the operation, consisting of the artery and its surrounding muscle fibers, were sent for histopathological examination to determine the fiber/capillary (F/C) ratio and capillary diameter. Blood samples and tissue specimens were collected at 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 48 and 72 h postoperatively from the animals of both groups, control and treated.

Results: Rapid increases in the level of adenosine, GH, and FGF occurred. The F/C ratio and capillary diameter peaked at 12-16 h; their levels declined gradually, reaching normal values 72 h after irradiation in the treated group. Numerous collateral blood vessels proliferated the area, with marked increases in the diameters of the original blood vessels.

Conclusions: The results indicated that LLLT accelerated collateral circulation and enhanced microcirculation and seemed to be unique in the normalization of the functional features of the injured area, which could lead to occlusion of the regional blood vessels.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / blood
  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Collateral Circulation / radiation effects*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / blood
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Microcirculation / radiation effects
  • Rabbits


  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Growth Hormone
  • Adenosine