Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 637–645 | Cite as

Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is involved in hair growth-promoting effect of 655-nm red light and LED in in vitro culture model

  • Le Han
  • Ben Liu
  • Xianyan Chen
  • Haiyan Chen
  • Wenjia Deng
  • Changsheng Yang
  • Bin Ji
  • Miaojian WanEmail author
Original Article


Activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays an important role in hair follicle morphogenesis and hair growth. Recently, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) was evaluated for stimulating hair growth in numerous clinical studies, in which 655-nm red light was found to be most effective and practical for stimulating hair growth. We evaluated whether 655-nm red light + light-emitting diode (LED) could promote human hair growth by activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling. An in vitro culture of human hair follicles (HFs) was irradiated with different intensities of 655-nm red light + LED, 21 h7 (an inhibitor of β-catenin), or both. Immunofluorescence staining was performed to assess the expression of β-catenin, GSK3β, p-GSK3β, and Lef1 in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling. The 655-nm red light + LED not only enhanced hair shaft elongation, but also reduced catagen transition in human hair follicle organ culture, with the greatest effectiveness observed at 5 min (0.839 J/cm2). Additionally, 655-nm red light + LED enhanced the expression of β-catenin, p-GSK3β, and Lef1, signaling molecules of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, in the hair matrix. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling is involved in hair growth-promoting effect of 655-nm red light and LED in vitro and therefore may serve as an alternative therapeutic option for alopecia.


655 nm Low-level laser therapy Hair Wnt/β-catenin signaling 



Low-level laser therapy


Hair follicle


Light-emitting diode


Matrix keratinocyte


Glycogen synthase kinase-3β




Lymphoid enhancer factor 1


Dermal papilla cell


Reactive oxygen species


T cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor


Androgenetic alopecia



This work was performed in Department of Dermatology, the 3rd Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University and supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81271769). We would like to thank Shi Rundong, Wang Jing and Ruan Ruolin for their technical and spiritual support.


This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81271769). The role of the funding source was to provide the experimental materials.

Compliance with ethical standards

Study protocols were approved by the Institutional Research Ethics Committee, Sun Yat-sen University (No. [2015]2-174), and written informed consent was obtained from all subjects. All experimental procedures using human tissues were performed according to the principles described in the Declaration of Helsinki.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Le Han
    • 1
  • Ben Liu
    • 1
  • Xianyan Chen
    • 1
  • Haiyan Chen
    • 1
  • Wenjia Deng
    • 1
  • Changsheng Yang
    • 2
  • Bin Ji
    • 3
  • Miaojian Wan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, The Third Affiliated HospitalSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials and DevicesSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Hair TransplantationYuexiu Plastic Surgery HospitalGuangzhouChina

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