Background: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the most commonly studied animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system. Immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive therapies currently approved for the treatment of MS slow disease progression, but do not prevent it. A growing body of evidence suggests additional mechanisms contribute to disease progression. We previously demonstrated the amelioration of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced EAE in C57BL/6 mice by 670 nm light-induced photobiomodulation, mediated in part by immune modulation. Numerous other studies demonstrate that near-infrared/far red light is therapeutically active through modulation of nitrosoxidative stress. As nitric oxide has been reported to play diverse roles in EAE/MS, and recent studies suggest that axonal loss and progression of disability in MS is mediated by nitrosoxidative stress, we investigated the effect of 670 nm light treatment on nitrosative stress in MOG-induced EAE.
Methodology: Cell culture experiments demonstrated that 670 nm light-mediated photobiomodulation attenuated antigen-specific nitric oxide production by heterogenous lymphocyte populations isolated from MOG immunized mice. Experiments in the EAE model demonstrated down-regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) gene expression in the spinal cords of mice with EAE over the course of disease, compared to sham treated animals. Animals receiving 670 nm light treatment also exhibited up-regulation of the Bcl-2 anti-apoptosis gene, an increased Bcl-2:Bax ratio, and reduced apoptosis within the spinal cord of animals over the course of disease. 670 nm light therapy failed to ameliorate MOG-induced EAE in mice deficient in iNOS, confirming a role for remediation of nitrosative stress in the amelioration of MOG-induced EAE by 670 nm mediated photobiomodulation.
Conclusions: These data indicate that 670 nm light therapy protects against nitrosative stress and apoptosis within the central nervous system, contributing to the clinical effect of 670 nm light therapy previously noted in the EAE model.