Comparative analysis of two low-level laser doses on the expression of inflammatory mediators and on neutrophils and macrophages in acute joint inflammation

Lasers Med Sci. 2014 May;29(3):1051-8. doi: 10.1007/s10103-013-1467-2. Epub 2013 Oct 31.


Synovial membrane inflammation plays an important role in osteoarthritis (OA) pathophysiology. The synovial tissue of patients with initial OA is characterized by mononuclear cell infiltration and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other mediators of joint injury. The study aims to evaluate the effect of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) at doses of 2 and 4 J on joint inflammation in rats induced by papain through histopathological analysis, differential counts of inflammatory cells; gene expression of IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10; and TNF-α protein expression. Male Wistar rats (20) were randomly divided (5 animals each) into a negative control group, an inflammation injury positive control group, a 2-J LLLT group subjected to injury and treated with 2 J of LLLT, and a 4-J LLLT group subjected to injury and treated with 4 J of LLLT. The animals were subjected to joint inflammation (4 % papain solution) and treated with LLLT. On the day of euthanasia, articular lavage was collected and centrifuged. The supernatant was analyzed for TNF-α protein expression by ELISA and IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 mRNA by RT-PCR. The joint tissue was also examined histologically. ANOVA with Tukey's post hoc test was used for comparisons. All data were expressed as means ± S.D. (p < 0.05). Both laser modalities were efficient in reducing cellular inflammation and decreasing the expression of IL-1β and IL-6. However, the 2-J treatment led to more reduction in TNF-α than the 4-J treatment. A single application of LLLT with 2 J was more efficient in modulating inflammatory mediators and inflammatory cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular / immunology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / radiation effects*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / radiation effects*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / immunology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / radiotherapy*
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators