Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 539–547 | Cite as

The effect of polarized light on the organization of collagen secreted by fibroblasts

  • Dana Akilbekova
  • Anuraag Boddupalli
  • Kaitlin M. Bratlie
Original Article


Recent studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of low-power lasers and polarized light on wound healing, inflammation, and the treatment of rheumatologic and neurologic disorders. The overall effect of laser irradiation treatment is still controversial due to the lack of studies on the biochemical mechanisms and the optimal parameters for the incident light that should be chosen for particular applications. Here, we study how NIH/3T3 fibroblasts respond to irradiation with linearly polarized light at different polarization angles. In particular, we examined vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, differentiation to myofibroblasts, and collagen organization in response to 800 nm polarized light at 0°, 45°, 90°, and 135° with a power density of 40 mW/cm2 for 6 min every day for 6 days. Additional experiments were conducted in which the polarization angle of the incident was changed every day to induce an isotropic distribution of collagen. The data presented here shows that polarized light can upregulate VEGF production, myofibroblast differentiation, and induce different collagen organization in response to different polarization angles of the incident beam. These results are encouraging and demonstrate possible methods for controlling cell response through the polarization angle of the laser light, which has potential for the treatment of wounds.


Collagen Second harmonic generation Fibroblasts 


Author contributions

D.A. and K.M.B. designed the study. D.A. and A.B. performed experiments. D.A. and A.B. analyzed data. D.A., A.B., and K.M.B. wrote the manuscript.


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CBET 1227867 and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust Grant No. 13-4265. The authors also acknowledge support from NSF ARI-R2 (CMMI-0963224) for funding the renovation of the research laboratories used for these studies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

No animal subjects were involved in this study.

Informed consent

No human subjects were involved in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Laboratory AstanaNazarbayev UniversityAstanaKazakhstan
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  4. 4.Division of Materials Science and EngineeringAmes National LaboratoryAmesUSA

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