Low level laser therapy accelerates bone healing in spinal cord injured rats

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2016 Jun;159:179-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2016.03.041. Epub 2016 Mar 29.


Bone loss occurs rapidly and consistently after the occurrence of a spinal cord injury (SCI), leading to a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) and a higher risk of fractures. In this context, the stimulatory effects of low level laser therapy (LLLT) also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) have been highlighted, mainly due to its osteogenic potential. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of LLLT on bone healing using an experimental model of tibial bone defect in SCI rats. Twenty-four female Wistar rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: Sham group (SG), SCI control group (SC) and SCI laser treated group (SL). Two weeks after the induction of the SCI, animals were submitted to surgery to induce a tibial bone defect. Treatment was performed 3days a week, for 2weeks, at a single point over the area of the injury, using an 808nm laser (30mW, 100J/cm(2); 0.028cm(2), 1.7W/cm², 2.8J). The results of the histological and morphometric evaluation demonstrated that the SL group showed a larger amount of newly formed bone compared to the SC group. Moreover, a significant immunoexpression of runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) was observed in the SL group. There was no statistical difference in the biomechanical evaluation. In conclusion, the results suggest that LLLT accelerated the process of bone repair in rats with complete SCI.

Keywords: Bone; Low level laser therapy; Rats; Spinal cord injury.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fracture Healing / radiation effects*
  • Locomotion
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy*