Low-level light treatment ameliorates immune thrombocytopenia

Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 30;6:38238. doi: 10.1038/srep38238.


Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an immune-mediated acquired bleeding disorder characterized by abnormally low platelet counts. We reported here the ability of low-level light treatment (LLLT) to alleviate ITP in mice. The treatment is based on noninvasive whole body illumination 30 min a day for a few consecutive days by near infrared light (830 nm) transmitted by an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LLLT significantly lifted the nadir of platelet counts and restored tail bleeding time when applied to two passive ITP models induced by anti-CD41 antibody. The anti-platelet antibody hindered megakaryocyte differentiation from the progenitors, impaired proplatelet and platelet formation, and induced apoptosis of platelets. These adverse effects of anti-CD41 antibody were all mitigated by LLLT to varying degrees, owing to its ability to enhance mitochondrial biogenesis and activity in megakaryocytes and preserve mitochondrial functions in platelets in the presence of the antibody. The observations argue not only for contribution of mitochondrial stress to the pathology of ITP, but also clinical potentials of LLLT as a safe, simple, and cost-effective modality of ITP.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Megakaryocytes / cytology
  • Megakaryocytes / immunology
  • Megakaryocytes / radiation effects*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Platelet Count
  • Thrombocytopenia / immunology
  • Thrombocytopenia / radiotherapy*
  • Thrombopoiesis / immunology
  • Thrombopoiesis / radiation effects