Background: The approved immunomodulatory agents for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) are only partially effective. It is thought that the combination of immunomodulatory and neuroprotective strategies is necessary to prevent or reverse disease progression. Irradiation with far red/near infrared light, termed photobiomodulation, is a therapeutic approach for inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Data suggests that near-infrared light functions through neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. We sought to investigate the clinical effect of photobiomodulation in the Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of multiple sclerosis.
Methodology/principal findings: The clinical effect of photobiomodulation induced by 670 nm light was investigated in the C57BL/6 mouse model of EAE. Disease was induced with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) according to standard laboratory protocol. Mice received 670 nm light or no light treatment (sham) administered as suppression and treatment protocols. 670 nm light reduced disease severity with both protocols compared to sham treated mice. Disease amelioration was associated with down-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines (interferon-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α) and up-regulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-10) in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusion/significance: These studies document the therapeutic potential of photobiomodulation with 670 nm light in the EAE model, in part through modulation of the immune response.