Infrared photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy improves glucose metabolism and intracellular insulin pathway in adipose tissue of high-fat fed mice

Lasers Med Sci. 2018 Apr;33(3):559-571. doi: 10.1007/s10103-017-2408-2. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


Obesity represents a continuously growing global epidemic and is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The etiology of type 2 diabetes is related to the resistance of insulin-sensitive tissues to its action leading to impaired blood glucose regulation. Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy might be a non-pharmacological, non-invasive strategy to improve insulin resistance. It has been reported that PBM therapy in combination with physical exercise reduces insulin resistance. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of PBM therapy on insulin resistance in obese mice. Male Swiss albino mice received low-fat control diet (n = 16, LFC) or high-fat diet (n = 18, HFD) for 12 weeks. From 9th to 12th week, the mice received PBM therapy (LASER) or Sham (light off) treatment and were allocated into four groups: LFC Sham (n = 8), LFC PBM (n = 8), HFD Sham (n = 9), and HFD PBM (n = 9). The PBM therapy was applied in five locations: to the left and right quadriceps muscle, upper limbs and center of the abdomen, during 40 s at each point, once a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks (780 nm, 250 mW/cm2, 10 J/cm2, 0.4 J per site; 2 J total dose per day). Insulin signaling pathway was evaluated in the epididymal adipose tissue. PBM therapy improved glucose tolerance and phosphorylation of Akt (Ser473) and reversed the HFD-induced reduction of GLUT4 content and phosphorylation of AS160 (Ser588). Also, PBM therapy reversed the increased area of epididymal and mesenteric adipocytes. The results showed that chronic PBM therapy improved parameters related to obesity and insulin resistance in HFD-induced obesity in mice.

Keywords: Glucose intolerance; Insulin resistance; Insulin signaling; Low-level laser therapy; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue / radiation effects
  • Adiposity / radiation effects
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / radiation effects
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Epididymis / pathology
  • Epididymis / radiation effects
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Hypertrophy
  • Infrared Rays*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Sample Size
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects


  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Glucose