Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 279–286 | Cite as

Low-level laser therapy prevents endothelial cells from TNF-α/cycloheximide-induced apoptosis

  • Yu-Hsiu Chu
  • Shu-Ya Chen
  • Yueh-Ling Hsieh
  • Yi-Hsien Teng
  • Yu-Jung ChengEmail author
Original Article


Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), widely used in physiotherapy, has been known to enhance wound healing and stimulate cell proliferation, including fibroblast and endothelial cells. Applying LLLT can increase cell proliferation in many kinds of cells including fibroblasts and endothelial cells. However, the protective mechanisms of LLLT on endothelial apoptosis remain unclear. We hypothesized LLLT can protect endothelial cells from inflammation-induced apoptosis. Human endothelial cell line, EA.hy926 cells, and TNF-α/cycloheximide (TNF/CHX) were used to explore the protective effects of LLLT (660 nm) on inflammation-induced endothelial apoptosis. Cell viability, apoptosis, caspase-3/7/8/9 activity, MAPKs signaling, NF-κB activity, and inducible/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (iNOS/eNOS) expression were measured. Our results showed that LLLT increased EA.hy926 cell proliferation, attenuated the TNF/CHX-induced apoptosis, and reduced the TNF/CHX-mediated caspase-3/7/8/9 activation. In addition, LLLT increased ERK MAPK phosphorylation and suppressed the TNF/CHX-increased p38 MAPK, JNK, IKK phosphorylation, NF-κB translocation, and iNOS expression. The caspases-3 cleavage and cell death were not increased in cells treating with ERK inhibitor U0126, which implicated that ERK is not to be responsible for the protective effects of LLLT. After treating with p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activator, the protection of LLLT in cell apoptosis was no longer existed, showing that LLLT protected the endothelial cells by suppressing p38 MAPK signaling. Our results provide a new insight into the possible molecular mechanisms in which LLLT protects against inflammatory-induced endothelial dysfunction.


TNF-α LLLT Caspases MAPK Apoptosis Inflammation 


Funding information

This study was supported by National Science Council of Taiwan grants MOST 105-2314-B-039-009 and CMU104-S-14-04 from the China Medical University, Taiwan.

Role of funding source

This funding source had no role in the design of this study and will not have any role during its execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to submit results.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu-Hsiu Chu
    • 1
  • Shu-Ya Chen
    • 1
  • Yueh-Ling Hsieh
    • 1
  • Yi-Hsien Teng
    • 1
  • Yu-Jung Cheng
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physical Therapy and Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation ScienceChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Brain Research and Disease CenterChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan

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