Photobiomodulation and nitric oxide signaling

Nitric Oxide. 2023 Jan 1:130:58-68. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2022.11.005. Epub 2022 Nov 30.


Nitric oxide (NO) is a well-known gaseous mediator that maintains vascular homeostasis. Extensive evidence supports that a hallmark of endothelial dysfunction, which leads to cardiovascular diseases, is endothelial NO deficiency. Thus, restoring endothelial NO represents a promising approach to treating cardiovascular complications. Despite many therapeutic agents having been shown to augment NO bioavailability under various pathological conditions, success in resulting clinical trials has remained elusive. There is solid evidence of diverse beneficial effects of the treatment with low-power near-infrared (NIR) light, defined as photobiomodulation (PBM). Although the precise mechanisms of action of PBM are still elusive, recent studies consistently report that PBM improves endothelial dysfunction via increasing bioavailable NO in a dose-dependent manner and open a feasible path to the use of PBM for treating cardiovascular diseases via augmenting NO bioavailability. In particular, the use of NIR light in the NIR-II window (1000-1700 nm) for PBM, which has reduced scattering and minimal tissue absorption with the largest penetration depth, is emerging as a promising therapy. In this review, we update recent findings on PBM and NO.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Endothelial cells; Near-infrared light; Nitric oxide; Photobiomodulation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy* / methods
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Signal Transduction


  • Nitric Oxide