Effects of low-level laser therapy on ROS homeostasis and expression of IGF-1 and TGF-β1 in skeletal muscle during the repair process

Lasers Med Sci. 2013 May;28(3):725-34. doi: 10.1007/s10103-012-1133-0. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on the homeostasis of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and expression of IGF-1 and TGF-β1 in the gastrocnemius muscles of rats following contusion. Muscle regeneration involves cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation and is regulated by growth factors. A growing body of evidence suggests that LLLT promotes skeletal muscle regeneration and accelerates tissue repair. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (n=96) were randomly divided into three groups: control group (no lesion, untreated, n=6), contusion group (n=48), and contusion-plus-LLLT group (n=42). Gallium aluminum arsenide (GaAlAs) laser irradiation (635 nm; beam spot, 0.4 cm(2); output power, 7 mW; power density, 17.5 mW/cm(2); 20 min) was administered to the gastrocnemius contusion for 20 min daily for 10 days. Muscle remodeling was evaluated at 0 h and 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after injury. Hematoxylin and eosin and Van Gieson staining were used to evaluate regeneration and fibrosis; muscle superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malondialdehyde (MDA) were detected via biochemical methods; expression of transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-β1) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were investigated via immunohistochemistry. The results showed that LLLT markedly promoted the regeneration of muscle and reduced scar formation. LLLT also significantly enhanced muscle SOD activity and significantly decreased muscle MDA levels 1, 2, and 3 days after injury. LLLT increased the expression of IGF-1 2, 3, and 7 days after injury and decreased the expression of IGF-1 21 and 28 days after injury. LLLT decreased the expression of TGF-β1 3 and 28 days after injury but increased expression at 7 and 14 days after injury. Our study showed that LLLT could modulate the homeostasis of ROS and of the growth factors IGF-1 and TGF-β1, which are known to play important roles in the repair process. This may constitute a new preventive approach to muscular fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibrosis
  • Homeostasis / radiation effects
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / radiation effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Regeneration / radiation effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism*
  • Wound Healing / radiation effects*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Superoxide Dismutase