Effects of light-emitting diode irradiation on RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis

Lasers Surg Med. 2015 Nov;47(9):745-55. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22413. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


Background and objective: Bone homeostasis is maintained by a balance between osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone resorption, where intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) are crucial mediators of osteoclastogenesis. Recently, low-level light therapy (LLLT), a form of laser medicine used in various clinical fields, was shown to alleviate oxidative stress by scavenging intracellular ROS. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of 635 nm irradiation from a light-emitting diode (LED) on osteoclastogenesis from receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL)-stimulated mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs).

Study design/materials and methods: The effects of LED irradiation on osteoclastogenesis were assessed in tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP), 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), cell viability, and resorption pit formation, respectively. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blot analyses were also performed to assess mRNA expression of osteoclastogenesis-related genes and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK 1/2), p38, and c-Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK). NF-κB activity was assayed by luciferase reporter assay and Intracellular ROS generation was investigated by the 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2 DCF-DA) detection method.

Results: LED irradiation significantly inhibited RANKL-mediated osteoclast differentiation from BMMs and mRNA expression of TRAP, osteoclast-associated immunoglobulin-like receptor (OSCAR), and dendrocyte-expressed seven-transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP). Exposure to LED light likewise significantly decreased RANKL-facilitated NF-κB activity, p38 and ERK phosphorylation and intracellular ROS generation, and increased gene expression of nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2).

Conclusions: Taken together, the results presented herein show that LED irradiation downregulates osteoclastogenesis by reducing ROS production. Therefore, LED irradiation/LLLT might be useful as an alternative, conservative approach to osteoporosis management.

Keywords: low-level light therapy; osteoclastogenesis; osteoporosis; reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Resorption / etiology*
  • Bone Resorption / metabolism
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts / pathology
  • Osteoclasts / radiation effects*
  • RANK Ligand / physiology*


  • RANK Ligand