Effects of photobiomodulation and a physical exercise program on the expression of inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers and functional capacity in women with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized blinded study

Adv Rheumatol. 2021 Oct 16;61(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s42358-021-00220-5.


Background: The knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease characterized by degradation of articular cartilage that leads to chronic inflammation. Exercise programs and photobiomodulation (PBM) are capable of modulating the inflammatory process of minimizing functional disability related to knee OA. However, their association on the concentration of biomarkers related to OA development has not been studied yet. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effects of PBM (via cluster) with a physical exercise program in functional capacity, serum inflammatory and cartilage degradation biomarkers in patients with knee OA.

Methods: Forty-two patients were randomly allocated in 3 groups: ESP: exercise + sham PBM; EAP: exercise + PBM and CG: control group. Six patients were excluded before finished the experimental period. The analyzed outcomes in baseline and 8-week were: the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) and the evaluation of serum biomarkers concentration (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 e TNF-α, and CTX-II).

Results: An increase in the functional capacity was observed in the WOMAC total score for both treated groups (p < 0.001) and ESP presents a lower value compared to CG (p < 0.05) the 8-week post-treatment. In addition, there was a significant increase in IL-10 concentration of EAP (p < 0.05) and higher value compared to CG (p < 0.001) the 8-week post-treatment. Moreover, an increase in IL-1β concentration was observed for CG (p < 0.05). No other difference was observed comparing the other groups.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that the physical exercise therapy could be a strategy for increasing functional capacity and in association with PBM for increasing IL-10 levels in OA knee individuals.

Trial registration: ReBEC (RBR-7t6nzr).

Keywords: Biomarkers; Cytokines; Inflammation; Knee osteoarthritis; Photobiomodulation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / blood
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / therapy
  • Physical Functional Performance
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-10

Associated data

  • ReBec/RBR-7t6nzr