Infrared Laser Improves Collagen Organization in Muscle and Tendon Tissue During the Process of Compensatory Overload

Photomed Laser Surg. 2018 Mar;36(3):130-136. doi: 10.1089/pho.2017.4302. Epub 2018 Feb 21.


Background: The photobiomodulation using the low-level laser therapy (LLLT) exerts a positive modulating effect on the synthesis of collagen in skeletal muscles and tendons. However, few studies have addressed this effect during the compensatory overload.

Objective: Evaluate the effect of infrared laser on the deposition and organization of collagen fibers in muscle and tendon tissue during compensatory overload of the plantar muscle in rats.

Materials and methods: Wistar rats were submitted to bilateral ablation of the synergist muscles of the hind paws and divided in groups: Control, Hypertrophy, and Hypertrophy (H)+LLLT (780 nm, 40 mW, 9.6 J/cm2 and 10 s/point, 8 points, total energy 3.2 J, daily), evaluated at 7 and 14 days. Muscle cuts were stained with Picrosirius-Red and hematoxylin-eosin and tendon cuts were submitted to birefringence for determination of collagen distribution and organization.

Results: After 7 days an increase was observed in the area between beam muscles in H+LLLT (25.45% ± 2.56) in comparison to H (20.3% ± 3.31), in mature fibers and fibrilis in H+LLLT (29346.88 μm2 ± 2182.56; 47602.8 μm2 ± 2201.86 respectively) in comparison to H (26656.5 μm2 ± 1880.46; 45630.34 μm2 ± 2805.82 respectively) and in the collagen area in H+LLLT (2.25% ± 0.19) in comparison to H (2.0% ± 0.15). However, after 14 days a reduction was observed in the area between beam muscles in H+LLLT (13.88% ± 2.54) in comparison to H (19.1% ± 2.61), in fibrils and mature fibers in H+LLLT (17174.1 μm2 ± 2563.82; 32634.04 μm2 ± 1689.38 respectively) in comparison to H (55249.86 μm2 ± 1992.65; 44318.36 μm2 ± 1759.57) and in the collagen area in H+LLLT (1.76% ± 0.16) in comparison to H (2.09 ± 0.27). A greater organization of collagen fibers in the tendon was observed after 7 and 14 days in H+LLLT groups.

Conclusions: Infrared laser irradiation induces an improvement in collagen organization in tendons and a reduction in the total area of collagen in muscles during compensatory atrophy following the ablation of synergist muscles.

Keywords: collagen; hypertrophy; low-level laser therapy; photobiomodulation; skeletal muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tendons / physiopathology*
  • Wound Healing*


  • Collagen