Photobiomodulation in Neuroscience: A Summary of Personal Experience

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Abstract

Objective: This review summarizes personal experience with laser photobiomodulation and its potentials for the treatment of peripheral and central nerve system injuries. Methods and Results: Laser photobiomodulation was shown to induce nerve cell activation, have a positive effect on metabolism of the nerve cells, and to stimulate nerve sprouting processes. Studies investigating the effects of laser photobiomodulation on injured peripheral nerves in rats reported immediate protective effects which increase the functional activity of the nerve, decrease or prevent scar tissue formation at the injured site, prevent or decrease degeneration in corresponding motor neurons of the spinal cord, and significantly increase axonal growth and myelinization. A direct application of laser on the spinal cord had a positive impact on the corresponding injured peripheral nerve and promoted recovery. A 780-nm laser phototherapy was applied following peripheral nerve reconstruction using a guiding nerve tube. Results showed myelinated axons crossing through the nerve tube and the continuation of axonal sprouting through the tube toward the distal part of the nerve. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized pilot clinical trial in patients with incomplete stable long-term peripheral nerve injury (PNI), 780-nm laser irradiation progressively improved peripheral nerve function and led to substantial functional recovery. Muscle atrophy represents a major challenge in restorative medicine. Laser phototherapy was shown to increase biochemical activity and improve morphological recovery in muscle and, thus, could have a direct therapeutic application, especially during progressive muscle atrophy resulting from PNI. The effectiveness of composite implants of cultured embryonal nerve cells and the role of laser irradiation on regeneration and repair of the completely transected rat spinal cord were examined. Results suggested that laser photobiomodulation treatment accelerates the axonal growth. Conclusions: The significance of the performed experimental and clinical studies is in the provision of new laser technology in field of cell therapy and its therapeutic value for peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries. Additional well-designed clinical studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness and role of laser photobiomodulation treatment in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-615
Number of pages12
JournalPhotomedicine and Laser Surgery
Volume35
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • brain
  • injury
  • muscle cells
  • nerve cells
  • peripheral nerve
  • photobiomodulation
  • spinal cord
  • transplantation

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