Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 495–504 | Cite as

Photobiomodulation with 808-nm diode laser light promotes wound healing of human endothelial cells through increased reactive oxygen species production stimulating mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation

  • Andrea AmaroliEmail author
  • Silvia Ravera
  • Francesca Baldini
  • Stefano Benedicenti
  • Isabella Panfoli
  • Laura Vergani
Original Article


Photobiomodulation of cells using near-infrared (NIR) monochromatic light can affect cell functions such as proliferation, viability, and metabolism in a range of cell types. Evidence for the effects of near-infrared light on endothelial cells has been reported, but the studies were mainly performed using VIS light emitted by low-energy lasers, because NIR wavelengths seemed negatively stimulate these cells. Cell viability, free radical-induced oxidative stress, NF-κB activation, nitric oxide release, mitochondrial respiration, and wound healing repair were assessed in human endothelial cells (HECV) irradiated with 808-nm diode laser light (laser setup = 1 W/cm2, 60 s, 60 J/cm2, CW vs measured energy parameter = 0.95 W/cm2, 60 s, 57 J/cm2, mode CW) emitted by an handpiece with flat-top profile. No difference in viability was detected between controls and HECV cells irradiated with 808-nm diode laser light for 60 s. Irradiated cells demonstrated higher proliferation rate and increased migration ability associated to moderate increase in ROS production without a significant increase in oxidative stress and oxidative stress-activated processes. Near-infrared light stimulated mitochondrial oxygen consumption and ATP synthesis in HECV cells. Short near-infrared irradiation did not affect viability of HECV cells, rather led to a stimulation of wound healing rate, likely sustained by ROS-mediated stimulation of mitochondrial activity. Our results demonstrating that near-infrared led to a shift from anaerobic to aerobic metabolism provide new insight into the possible molecular mechanisms by which photobiomodulation with 808-nm diode laser light protects against inflammation-induced endothelial dysfunction, seemingly promising to enhance their therapeutic properties.


Photobiomodulation (PBM) NIR-diode laser Human endothelial cells (HECV) Mitochondrial respiration Wound regeneration 



We thank Dr. Milena Regazzoni for her support in the experimental activity. A special thanks to Prof. Adriana Voci for the constant support and encouragement.

Funding information

This research was supported by grants from University of Genova (Vergani FRA nos. 2015 and 2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All 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

  1. 1.Department of Surgical Sciences and Integrated DiagnosticUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacy, Biochemistry LaboratoryUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Earth, Environmental and Life SciencesUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

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