Aging retinal function is improved by near infrared light (670 nm) that is associated with corrected mitochondrial decline

Neurobiol Aging. 2017 Apr:52:66-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 10.


Aging is associated with cellular decline and reduced function, partly mediated by mitochondrial compromise. However, aged mitochondrial function is corrected with near infrared light (670 nm) that improves their membrane potentials and adenosine triphosphate production and also reduces age-related inflammation. We ask if 670 nm light can also improve declining retinal function. Electroretinograms were measured in 2-, 7-, and 12-month old C57BL/6 mice. Significant age-related declines were measured in the photoreceptor generated a-wave and the postreceptoral b-wave. Seven- and 12-month-old mice were exposed to 670 nm for 15 minutes daily over 1 month. These showed significant improved retinal function in both waves of approximately 25% but did not reach levels found in 2-month-old animals. Our data suggest, 670 nm light can significantly improve aged retinal function, perhaps by providing additional adenosine triphosphate production for photoreceptor ion pumps or reduced aged inflammation. This may have implications for the treatment of retinal aging and age-related retinal disease, such as macular degeneration.

Keywords: Aging; Mitochondria; Retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / radiation effects*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Inflammation / radiotherapy
  • Infrared Rays / therapeutic use*
  • Ion Pumps / metabolism
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Macular Degeneration / radiotherapy*
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / radiation effects
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / radiation effects*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology
  • Retina / physiopathology*
  • Retina / radiation effects*


  • Ion Pumps
  • Adenosine Triphosphate