Low-energy helium-neon laser induces locomotion of the immature melanoblasts and promotes melanogenesis of the more differentiated melanoblasts: recapitulation of vitiligo repigmentation in vitro

J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Sep;126(9):2119-26. doi: 10.1038/sj.jid.5700372. Epub 2006 May 11.


Helium-neon laser (He-Ne Laser, 632.8 nm) is a low-energy laser that has therapeutic efficacy on various clinical conditions. Our previous study has demonstrated efficacy of He-Ne laser on vitiligo, a disease characterized by skin depigmentation. To regain skin tone on vitiligo lesions, the process began by the migration of the immature melanoblasts (MBs) to the epidermis, which was followed by their functional development to produce melanin. In this study, we investigated the physiologic effects of He-Ne laser irradiation on two MB cell lines: the immature NCCmelb4 and the more differentiated NCCmelan5. The intricate interactions between MBs with their innate extracelluar matrix, fibronectin, were also addressed. Our results showed that He-Ne laser irradiation enhanced NCCmelb4 mobility via enhanced phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase expression and promoted melanogenesis in NCCmelan5. In addition, He-Ne laser decreased the affinity between NCCmelb4 and fibronectin, whereas the attachment of NCCmelan5 to fibronectin increased. The alpha5beta1 integrin expression on NCCmelb4 cells was enhanced by He-Ne laser. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that He-Ne laser induced different physiologic changes on MBs at different maturation stages and recapitulated the early events during vitiligo repigmentation process brought upon by He-Ne laser in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzoquinones / pharmacology
  • Cell Adhesion / radiation effects
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects
  • Cell Division / radiation effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / radiation effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Helium
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Integrin alpha5beta1 / metabolism
  • Lactams, Macrocyclic / pharmacology
  • Lasers*
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Melanocytes / cytology*
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Melanocytes / radiation effects*
  • Mice
  • Neon
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Rifabutin / analogs & derivatives
  • Skin Pigmentation / physiology
  • Skin Pigmentation / radiation effects
  • Vitiligo / metabolism
  • Vitiligo / pathology
  • Vitiligo / therapy*


  • Benzoquinones
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Integrin alpha5beta1
  • Lactams, Macrocyclic
  • Melanins
  • Rifabutin
  • Helium
  • Neon
  • herbimycin
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1
  • Ptk2 protein, mouse