Anti-inflammatory effects of low-level laser therapy on human periodontal ligament cells: in vitro study

Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Apr;33(3):469-477. doi: 10.1007/s10103-017-2376-6. Epub 2017 Nov 7.


Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that is commonly treated with surgical and nonsurgical techniques. However, both approaches have limitations. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been widely applied in reducing inflammatory reactions, and research indicates that LLLT induces an anti-inflammatory effect that may enhance periodontal disease therapy. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of LLLT on human periodontal ligament cells (hPDLCs) in an inflammatory environment and aimed to determine the possible mechanism of action. Cells were cultured and treated with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Porphryromonas gingivalis or Escherichia coli, followed by irradiation with a gallium-aluminum-arsenide (GaAlAs) laser (660 nm) at an energy density of 8 J/cm2. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions were used to assess the expression of pro-inflammatory genes, including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-8. The dual-luciferase reporter assay was used to examine nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcriptional activity. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to monitor the concentration of intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Both LPS treatments significantly induced the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, LLLT inhibited the LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and elevated intracellular levels of cAMP. The LLLT inhibitory effect may function by downregulating NF-κB transcriptional activity and by increasing the intracellular levels of cAMP. LLLT might inhibit LPS-induced inflammation in hPDLCs through cAMP/NF-κB regulation. These results should be further studied to improve periodontal therapy.

Keywords: Cyclic AMP; Cytokines; Interleukins; Lipopolysaccharides; Low-level light therapy; NF-kappa B.

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenine / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Death / radiation effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Periodontal Ligament / pathology*
  • Periodontal Ligament / radiation effects*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • 9-(tetrahydro-2-furyl)-adenine
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Adenine