Impact of photobiomodulation using four diode laser wavelengths of on cationic liposome gene transfection into pre-osteoblast cells

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2021 Feb:215:112108. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2020.112108. Epub 2021 Jan 5.


Gene therapy can be an effective treatment modality for some severe genetic diseases. Despite efforts to improve their performance, non-viral gene delivery methods remain inefficient and costly. As an alternative to viral vectors, cationic liposomes have a good safety profile and low immunogenicity, but relatively low transfection efficiency. They may also be toxic to cells at high concentrations. Given these challenges, the present study explored the impact of photobiomodulation (PBM) on cationic liposome plasmid DNA transfection in terms of its efficiency and toxicity, using Lipofectamine 2000 to carry green fluorescent protein (GFP) encoding plasmid DNA, with the pre-osteoblast MC3T3-E1 cell line as the target. Cultures were irradiated using diode lasers (445, 685, 810, or 970 nm) at 200 mW using pulsed mode (50 Hz), with a power density of 104.64 mW/cm2, and irradiance from 6 to 18 joules. To determine transfection efficiency, expression of GFP was assessed using confocal laser scanning microscopy and flow cytometry. Cell viability was evaluated using the MTT assay. PBM using 810 nm and 970 nm lasers significantly enhanced transfection efficiency for GFP, indicating more efficient uptake of plasmid DNA. Conversely, laser irradiation at 445 nm and 685 nm wavelengths reduced the GFP transfection efficiency. Treatment using 685, 810, and 970 nm lasers at 12 J maintained cell viability and prevented toxicity of cationic liposomes. Overall, these findings support the concept that PBM using near infrared laser wavelengths can enhance transfection efficiency and support cell viability when cationic liposomes are used as the vector in gene therapy.

Keywords: Cationic liposome; Gene delivery; Gene transfection; Lipofectamine; Low-level laser therapy; Photobiomodulation; Plasmid DNA.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Lasers*
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Mice
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Semiconductors*
  • Transfection / instrumentation*


  • Liposomes