Low level laser therapy reduces oxidative stress in cortical neurons in vitro

Ying Ying Huang, Clark E. Tedford, Thomas McCarthy, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


It is accepted that the mechanisms of low level laser therapy (LLLT) involves photons that are absorbed in the mitochondria of cells and lead to increase of mitochondrial metabolism resulting in more electron transport, increase of mitochondrial membrane potential, and more ATP production. Intracellular calcium changes are seen that correlate with mitochondrial stimulation. The situation with two other intermediates is more complex however: reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO). Evidence exists that low levels of ROS are produced by LLLT in normal cells that can be beneficial by (for instance) activating NF-kB. However high fluences of light can produce large amounts of ROS that can damage the cells. In oxidatively stressed cells the situation may be different. We exposed primary cultured cortical neurons to hydrogen peroxide (H 2O 2) or cobalt chloride (CoCl 2) oxidative insults in the presence or absence of LLLT (810-nm laser at 0.3 or 3 J/cm 2). Cell viability of cortical neurons was determined by lactate dehydrogenase assay. ROS in neurons was detected using an ROS probe, MitoRox with confocal microscopy. Results showed that LLLT dose-dependently reversed ROS production and protected cortical neurons against H 2O 2 or CoCl 2 induced oxidative injury in cultured cortical neurons. Conclusion: LLLT can protect cortical neurons against oxidative stress by reversing the levels of ROS.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VII
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 21 Jan 201221 Jan 2012

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Cobalt chloride
  • Cultured cortical neurons
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Low-level laser therapy
  • Oxidative stress
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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