Effects of light emitting diode (LED) therapy and cold water immersion therapy on exercise-induced muscle damage in rats

Lasers Med Sci. 2012 Sep;27(5):1051-8. doi: 10.1007/s10103-011-1039-2. Epub 2012 Jan 6.


The aim of this work is to analyze the effects of LED therapy at 940 nm or cold water immersion therapy (CWI) after an acute bout of exercise on markers of muscle damage and inflammation. Thirty-two male Wistar rats were allocated into four groups: animals kept at rest (control), exercised animals (E), exercised + CWI (CWI), and exercised + LED therapy (LED). The animals swam for 100 min, after which blood samples were collected for lactate analysis. Animals in the E group were returned to their cages without treatment, the CWI group was placed in cold water (10°C) for 10 min and the LED group received LED irradiation on both gastrocnemius muscles (4 J/cm(2) each). After 24 h, the animals were killed and the soleus muscles were submitted to histological analysis. Blood samples were used for hematological and CK analyses. The results demonstrated that the LED group presented fewer areas of muscle damage and inflammatory cell infiltration and lower levels of CK activity than the E group. Fewer areas of damaged muscle fiber were observed in the LED group than in CWI. CWI and LED did not reduce edema areas. Hematological analysis showed no significant effect of either treatment on leukocyte counts. The results suggest that LED therapy is more efficient than CWI in preventing muscle damage and local inflammation after exercise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism
  • Cryotherapy / methods*
  • Immersion
  • Leukocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Creatine Kinase