The effect of low‐energy laser (He‐Ne) irradiation on the process of skeletal muscle regeneration after cold injury to the gastrocnemius muscle of the toad (Bufo viridis) was studied using quantitative histological and morphometric methods. The injured zones in the experimental toads were subjected to five direct He‐Ne laser (632.8 nm wavelength) irradiations (6.0 mW for 2.3 min) every alternate day starting on the fourth day postinjury. Muscles that were injured as above, and subjected to redlight irradiation, served as a control group. Morphometric analysis was performed on histological sections of injured areas at 9, 14, and 30 days postinjury. At 9 days postinjury, mononucleated cells populated 69.3% ± 16.8% of the total area of injury. Thereafter, their volume fraction (percent of total injured zone) decreased gradually but more rapidly in the laserirradiated muscle than in the control. The volume fraction of the myotubes in the laser‐irradiated muscles at 9 days of muscle regeneration was significantly higher (7.0% ± 2.2%) than in the control muscle (1.2% ± 0.4%). Young myofibers in the laser‐irradiated muscles populated 15.5% ± 7.9% and 65.0% ± 9.5% of the injured area at 9 and 14 days of muscle regeneration, respectively, while in control muscles these structures were not evident at 9 days and made up only 5.3% ± 2.9% of the traumatized area at 14 days postinjury. The volume fraction of the young myofibers further increased by 30 days of muscle regeneration making up 75.7% ± 13.2% of the traumatized area, while in the laser‐irradiated muscles most of the injured zone was filled with mature muscle fibers. It is concluded that He‐Ne laser irradiation during the regeneration process markedly promotes muscle maturation in the injured zone following cold injury to the toad gastrocnemius muscle. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- Skeletal muscle