Photobiomodulation therapy can change actin filaments of 3T3 mouse fibroblast

Lasers Med Sci. 2020 Apr;35(3):585-597. doi: 10.1007/s10103-019-02852-y. Epub 2019 Aug 13.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that photobiomodulation therapy might produce in cells, in particular, related to their structure. Thus, this paper presents the results of morphological changes in fibroblasts following low-intensity light illumination. Mouse fibroblasts were grown on glass coverslips on either 4 kPa or 16 kPa gels, to mimic normal tissue conditions. Cells were photo-irradiated with laser light at either 625 nm or 808 nm (total energies ranging from 34 to 47 J). Cells were fixed at 5 min, 1 h, or 24 h after photo-irradiation, stained for both actin filaments and the cell nucleus, and imaged by confocal microscopy. A non-light exposed group was also imaged. A detailed analysis of the images demonstrated that the total polymerized actin and number of actin filaments decrease, while the nucleus area increases in treated cells shortly after photo-irradiation, regardless of substrate and wavelength. This experiment indicated that photobiomodulation therapy could change the morphological properties of cells and affect their cytoskeleton. Further investigations are required to determine the specific mechanisms involved and how this phenomenon is related to the photobiomodulation therapy mechanisms of action.

Keywords: Actin filaments; Fibroblasts; Low-level light therapy; Photobiomodulation therapy.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / radiation effects
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / radiation effects
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / radiation effects
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal