, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 857–873 | Cite as

Low-Level Laser Therapy Prevents Treadmill Exercise-Induced Progression of Arthrogenic Joint Contracture Via Attenuation of Inflammation and Fibrosis in Remobilized Rat Knees

  • Akinori Kaneguchi
  • Junya OzawaEmail author
  • Kengo Minamimoto
  • Kaoru Yamaoka


We investigated whether the combination of exercise and anti-inflammatory/anti-fibrotic treatment using low-level laser therapy (LLLT) promotes recovery from joint contracture without arthrogenic contracture progression. Rat knees were immobilized for 3 weeks in a flexed position. After fixator removal, rats were divided into no intervention (RM), daily treadmill walking (WALK), and daily treadmill walking and LLLT (W + L) groups. Total and arthrogenic contractures were assessed by restrictions of passive range of motion (ROM) before (m-ROM) and after myotomy (a-ROM), respectively. After 7 days of remobilization, m-ROM restriction decreased equally in all groups. Conversely, a-ROM restriction further increased after remobilization in the RM and WALK groups. Furthermore, this restriction was significantly larger in the WALK group compared with the RM group. In the W + L group, however, progression of a-ROM restriction during remobilization was prevented. After 1 or 7 days of remobilization, inflammatory and fibrotic reactions in the joint capsule were induced in the RM group and were more pronounced in the WALK group, but these reactions were milder in the W + L group than in the WALK group. m-ROM restriction representing total contracture initially established by immobilization was partially improved by remobilization. Additional LLLT and exercise intervention did not further reduce total contracture, but LLLT suppressed the progression of arthrogenic contracture caused by ambulation and treadmill exercise. Therefore, exercise with LLLT in the early phase of remobilization would be one possible adjunct therapy to prevent further progression of arthrogenic contracture.


exercise fibrosis remobilization inflammation joint contracture low-level laser therapy 



We acknowledge the technical assistance of Megumi Ito, Seigo Iwamoto, Hitomi Kawaguchi, Kenta Kimoto, Kenjiro Fukushima, and Taishi Fukuda.

Funding Information

This study was supported by grants from the Japanese Physical Therapy Association and the Japanese Society of Physio Therapeutics.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

No conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, are declared by the authors.

Supplementary material

10753_2018_941_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (1.3 mb)
Supplemental Fig. 1 Images of morphometrical and histological analyses of the posterior joint capsule. (a) Thickness (up-down arrow) and postero-superior and postero-inferior synovial lengths (solid lines) were measured in the AFMG-stained posterior joint capsule. (b) To measure collagen density, we captured the posterior joint capsule just behind the meniscus (box area) of the AFMG-stained section. (c, d) We then extracted the green color, which indicates collagen, using the Split Channels function of ImageJ and an arbitrary threshold was set to equalize the area of collagen tissue (green stained area in c) and the threshold determined channel area (red stained area in d). Finally, we calculated collagen density by dividing the threshold determined channel area by the total area. F, femur; T, tibia; M, meniscus. Scale bars = 1 mm in a, 200 μm in b, and 100 μm in c and d. (PPTX 1375 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akinori Kaneguchi
    • 1
  • Junya Ozawa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kengo Minamimoto
    • 2
  • Kaoru Yamaoka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of RehabilitationHiroshima International UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Medical Technology and Health Welfare SciencesHiroshima International UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan

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