Lightening up Light Therapy: Activation of Retrograde Signaling Pathway by Photobiomodulation

Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2014 Nov;22(6):491-6. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2014.083. Epub 2014 Nov 30.


Photobiomodulation utilizes monochromatic (or quasimonochromatic) light in the electromagnetic region of 600∼1000 nm for the treatment of soft tissues in a nondestructive and nonthermal mode. It is conceivable that photobiomodulation is based upon the ability of the light to alter cell metabolism as it is absorbed by general hemoproteins and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) in particular. Recently it has been suggested radiation of visible and infrared (IR) activates retrograde signaling pathway from mitochondria to nucleus. In this review, the role of COX in the photobiomodulation will be discussed. Further a possible role of water as a photoreceptor will be suggested.

Keywords: Cytochrome c oxidase; Hemoprotein; Photobiomodulation; Retrograde signaling; Water.

Publication types

  • Review