Pulse frequency dependency of photobiomodulation on the bioenergetic functions of human dental pulp stem cells

Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 21;7(1):15927. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-15754-2.


Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy contributes to pain relief, wound healing, and tissue regeneration. The pulsed wave (PW) mode has been reported to be more effective than the continuous wave (CW) mode when applying PBM to many biological systems. However, the reason for the higher effectiveness of PW-PBM is poorly understood. Herein, we suggest using delayed luminescence (DL) as a reporter of mitochondrial activity after PBM treatment. DL originates mainly from mitochondrial electron transport chain systems, which produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The decay time of DL depends on the pulse frequencies of applied light, which correlate with the biological responses of human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs). Using a low-power light whose wavelength is 810 nm and energy density is 38 mJ/cm2, we find that a 300-Hz pulse frequency prolonged the DL pattern and enhanced alkaline phosphatase activity. In addition, we analyze mitochondrial morphological changes and their volume density and find evidence supporting mitochondrial physiological changes from PBM treatment. Our data suggest a new methodology for determining the effectiveness of PBM and the specific pulse frequency dependency of PBM in the differentiation of hDPSCs.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / radiation effects
  • Cell Shape / radiation effects
  • Dental Pulp / cytology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Luminescence
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / radiation effects
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / enzymology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / radiation effects*
  • Stem Cells / ultrastructure
  • Time Factors


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Alkaline Phosphatase