Infrared radiation has potential antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in animal model of depression and anxiety

Brain Stimul. 2011 Apr;4(2):71-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2010.04.001. Epub 2010 May 7.


Background: Bright light therapy has been shown to have antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in humans.

Objective: The antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of infrared radiation were evaluated using an experimental animal model.

Methods: Rats were randomly assigned to either an acutely or chronically exposed infrared radiation group or to a nonexposed control group. Acutely exposed rats were treated with an infrared radiation machine for one session, whereas chronically exposed animals were treated with an infrared radiation for 10 sessions. Control group rats were exposed to the sound of the infrared radiation machine as a sham treatment. After infrared radiation or control exposure, rats underwent behavioral evaluation, including elevated plus maze test, light/dark box, and forced swim test.

Results: Chronic infrared radiation exposure decreased indicators of depression- and anxiety-like behavior. No significant effect on general locomotor activity was observed. The number of BrdU-positive cells in CA1 of the hippocampus was significantly increased in both acutely and chronically exposed infrared radiation groups compared with the control group.

Conclusions: These results indicate that chronic infrared radiation might produce antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Behavior, Animal / radiation effects*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / radiation effects
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar