Low-level laser therapy attenuates lung inflammation and airway remodeling in a murine model of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: Relevance to cytokines secretion from lung structural cells

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2020 Jan;203:111731. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2019.111731. Epub 2019 Dec 4.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and chronic inflammatory disease with a poor prognosis and very few available treatment options. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been gaining prominence as a new and effective anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory agent. Can lung inflammation and the airway remodeling be regulated by LLLT in an experimental model of IPF in C57Bl/6 mice? The present study investigated if laser attenuates cellular migration to the lungs, the airway remodeling as well as pro-fibrotic cytokines secretion from type II pneumocytes and fibroblasts. Mice were irradiated (780 nm and 30 mW) and then euthanized fifteen days after bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Lung inflammation and airway remodeling were evaluated through leukocyte counting in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and analysis of collagen in lung, respectively. Inflammatory cells in blood were also measured. For in vitro assays, bleomycin-activated fibroblasts and type II pneumocytes were irradiated with laser. The pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines level in BALF as well as cells supernatant were measured by ELISA, and the TGFβ in lung was evaluated by flow cytometry. Lung histology was used to analyze collagen fibers around the airways. LLLT reduced both migration of inflammatory cells and deposition of collagen fibers in the lungs. In addition, LLLT downregulated pro-inflammatory cytokines and upregulated the IL-10 secretion from fibroblasts and pneumocytes. Laser therapy greatly reduced total lung TGFβ. Systemically, LLLT also reduced the inflammatory cells counted in blood. There is no statistical difference in inflammatory parameters studied between mice of the basal group and the laser-treated mice. Data obtained indicate that laser effectively attenuates the lung inflammation, and the airway remodeling in experimental pulmonary fibrosis is driven to restore the balance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in lung and inhibit the pro-fibrotic cytokines secretion from fibroblasts.

Keywords: Airway remodeling; Cytokines; Fibroblasts; Photobiomodulation; Pulmonary fibrosis.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Remodeling*
  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down-Regulation / radiation effects
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / radiation effects
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / radiotherapy*
  • Laser Therapy
  • Lasers*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Up-Regulation / radiation effects


  • Cytokines