Skin photorejuvenation effects of light-emitting diodes (LEDs): a comparative study of yellow and red LEDs in vitro and in vivo

Clin Exp Dermatol. 2016 Oct;41(7):798-805. doi: 10.1111/ced.12902.


Background: Red-coloured light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can improve skin photorejuvenation and regeneration by increasing cellular metabolic activity.

Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of visible LEDs with specific wavelengths for skin photorejuvenation in vitro and in vivo.

Methods: Normal human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) from neonatal foreskin were cultured and irradiated in vitro by LEDs at different wavelengths (410-850 nm) and doses (0-10 J/cm(2) ). In vivo experiments were performed on the skin of hairless mice. Expression of collagen (COL) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) was evaluated by semi-quantitative reverse transcription PCR (semi-qRT-PCR), western blotting and a procollagen type I C-peptide enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Haematoxylin and eosin and Masson trichrome stains were performed to evaluate histological changes.

Results: In HDFs, COL I was upregulated and MMP-1 was downregulated in response to LED irradiation at 595 ± 2 and 630 ± 8 nm. In the EIA, a peak result was achieved at a dose of 5 J/cm(2) with LED at 595 ± 2 nm. In vivo, COL I synthesis was upregulated in a dose-dependent manner to both 595 and 630 nm LED irradiation, and this effect was prolonged to 21 days after a single irradiation with a dose of 100 J/cm(2) . These histological changes were consistent with the results of semi-qRT-PCR and western blots.

Conclusion: Specific LED treatment with 595 ± 2 and 630 ± 8 nm irradiation was able to modulate COL and MMPs in skin, with the effects persisting for at least 21 days after irradiation. These findings suggest that yellow and red LEDs might be useful tools for skin photorejuvenation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Dermis / cytology*
  • Dermis / metabolism
  • Dermis / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Fibrillar Collagens / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Procollagen / metabolism


  • Fibrillar Collagens
  • Procollagen
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases