Effects of photobiomodulation on interleukin-10 and nitrites in individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis - Randomized clinical trial

PLoS One. 2020 Apr 7;15(4):e0230551. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230551. eCollection 2020.


Objective: Investigate the effects of photobiomodulation (PBM) on the expression of IL-10 and nitrites in individuals with Relapsing-Remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), as these biomarkers play a fundamental role in the physiopathology of the disease. The modulation of IL-10 and nitrites through treatment with PBM may be a novel treatment modality for MS.

Methods: A randomized, uncontrolled, clinical trial was conducted involving 14 individuals with a diagnosis of Relapsing-Remitting MS and a score of up to 6.0 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).

The participants were randomized to two groups: Group 1 -PBM in the sublingual region; Group 2 -PBM over the radial artery. Irradiation was administered with a wavelength of 808 nm and output power of 100 mW for 360 seconds twice a week, totaling 24 sessions. Peripheral blood was analyzed for the determination of serum levels of IL-10 and nitrites.

Results: After treatment with PBM, the expression of IL-10 increased in both the sublingual group (pre-treatment: 2.8 ± 1.4 pg/ml; post-treatment: 8.3 ± 2.4 pg/ml) and the radial artery group (pre-treatment: 2.7 pg/ml ± 1.4; post-treatment: 11.7 ± 3.8 pg/ml). In contrast, nitrite levels were not modulated in the sublingual group (pre-treatment: 65 ± 50 nmol/mg protein; post-treatment: 51 ± 42 nmol/mg protein) or the radial artery group (pre-treatment: 51 ± 16 nmol/mg protein; post-treatment: 42 ± 7 nmol/mg protein).

Conclusion: Treatment with PBM positively modulated the expression of IL-10 but had no effect on nitrite levels. Further studies should be conducted with a larger sample and a control group, as PBM may be a promising complementary treatment for the management of MS. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov. Identifier: NCT03360487.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism*
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / radiotherapy*
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Nitrites / metabolism*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Radial Artery / metabolism
  • Radial Artery / radiation effects
  • Young Adult


  • Nitrites
  • Interleukin-10

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03360487

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work aside from the unique funding sources in the Funding Information section. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.