The biostimulating effect of laser radiation has been observed in many areas of Medicine. However, there are still several questions to be answered, among them the importance of light coherence in the stimulatory process. In the present study, we used light-emitting diodes (LED) to promote the stimulation of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rats. Fourteen male Wistar rats weighing 200-250 g were submitted to partial hepatectomy (70%) followed by LED light irradiation (630 nm) of the remaining part of the liver at two doses, i.e., 10 (N = 7) and 140 (N = 7) J/cm(2). A group irradiated with laser, 590 nm (N = 7, 15 J/cm(2)) was performed for the study of proliferating cell nuclear antigen-labeling index. Data are reported as mean +/- SEM. Statistical comparisons of the groups were performed by analysis of variance for parametric measurements followed by the Bonferroni post-test, with the level of significance set at P < 0.05. Respiratory mitochondrial activity was increased in the irradiated groups (states 3 and 4; P < 0.05), with better results for the group exposed to the lower LED dose (10 J/cm(2)). The proliferating cell nuclear antigen-labeling index, by immunohistochemical staining, was similar for both LED-exposed groups (P > 0.05) and higher than for the control group (P < 0.05). The cell proliferation index obtained with LED and laser were similar (P > 0.05). In conclusion, the present results suggest that LED irradiation promotes biological stimulatory effects during the early stage of liver regeneration and that LED is as effective as laser light, independent of the coherence, divergence and cromaticity.