Raman spectroscopy and sciatic functional index (SFI) after low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in a rat sciatic nerve crush injury model

Lasers Med Sci. 2022 Sep;37(7):2957-2971. doi: 10.1007/s10103-022-03565-5. Epub 2022 May 3.


Axonotmesis causes sensorimotor and neurofunctional deficits, and its regeneration can occur slowly or not occur if not treated appropriately. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) promotes nerve regeneration with the proliferation of myelinating Schwann cells to recover the myelin sheath and the production of glycoproteins for endoneurium reconstruction. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of LLLT on sciatic nerve regeneration after compression injury by means of the sciatic functional index (SFI) and Raman spectroscopy (RS). For this, 64 Wistar rats were divided into two groups according to the length of treatment: 14 days (n = 32) and 21 days (n = 32). These two groups were subdivided into four sub-groups of eight animals each (control 1; control 2; laser 660 nm; laser 808 nm). All animals had surgical exposure to the sciatic nerve, and only control 1 did not suffer nerve damage. To cause the lesion in the sciatic nerve, compression was applied with a Kelly clamp for 6 s. The evaluation of sensory deficit was performed by the painful exteroceptive sensitivity (PES) and neuromotor tests by the SFI. Laser 660 nm and laser 808 nm sub-groups were irradiated daily (100 mW, 40 s, energy density of 133 J/cm2). The sciatic nerve segment was removed for RS analysis. The animals showed accentuated sensory and neurofunctional deficit after injury and their rehabilitation occurred more effectively in the sub-groups treated with 660 nm laser. Control 2 sub-group did not obtain functional recovery of gait. The RS identified sphingolipids (718, 1065, and 1440 cm-1) and collagen (700, 852, 1004, 1270, and 1660 cm-1) as biomolecular characteristics of sciatic nerves. Principal component analysis revealed important differences among sub-groups and a directly proportional correlation with SFI, mainly in the sub-group laser 660 nm treated for 21 days. In the axonotmesis-type lesion model presented herein, the 660 nm laser was more efficient in neurofunctional recovery, and the Raman spectra of lipid and protein properties were attributed to the basic biochemical composition of the sciatic nerve.

Keywords: Axonotmesis; Low level laser therapy; Painful exteroceptive sensitivity test; Raman spectroscopy; Sciatic functional index; Sciatic nerve injury.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crush Injuries* / radiotherapy
  • Low-Level Light Therapy* / methods
  • Nerve Crush
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries* / radiotherapy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sciatic Nerve / injuries
  • Sciatic Neuropathy* / pathology
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman