PLos One. 2011;6(10):e26212. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Comparison of Therapeutic Effects between Pulsed and Continuous Wave 810-nm Wavelength Laser Irradiation for Traumatic Brain Injury in Mice.

Ando T, Xuan W, Xu T, Dai T, Sharma SK, Kharkwal GB, Huang YY, Wu Q, Whalen MJ, Sato S, Obara M, Hamblin MR.


Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.



Transcranial low-level laser therapy (LLLT) using near-infrared light can efficiently penetrate through the scalp and skull and could allow non-invasive treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI). In the present study, we compared the therapeutic effect using 810-nm wavelength laser light in continuous and pulsed wave modes in a mouse model of TBI.


TBI was induced by a controlled cortical-impact device and 4-hours post-TBI 1-group received a sham treatment and 3-groups received a single exposure to transcranial LLLT, either continuous wave or pulsed at 10-Hz or 100-Hz with a 50% duty cycle. An 810-nm Ga-Al-As diode laser delivered a spot with diameter of 1-cm onto the injured head with a power density of 50-mW/cm(2) for 12-minutes giving a fluence of 36-J/cm(2). Neurological severity score (NSS) and body weight were measured up to 4 weeks. Mice were sacrificed at 2, 15 and 28 days post-TBI and the lesion size was histologically analyzed. The quantity of ATP production in the brain tissue was determined immediately after laser irradiation. We examined the role of LLLT on the psychological state of the mice at 1 day and 4 weeks after TBI using tail suspension test and forced swim test.


The 810-nm laser pulsed at 10-Hz was the most effective judged by improvement in NSS and body weight although the other laser regimens were also effective. The brain lesion volume of mice treated with 10-Hz pulsed-laser irradiation was significantly lower than control group at 15-days and 4-weeks post-TBI. Moreover, we found an antidepressant effect of LLLT at 4-weeks as shown by forced swim and tail suspension tests.


The therapeutic effect of LLLT for TBI with an 810-nm laser was more effective at 10-Hz pulse frequency than at CW and 100-Hz. This finding may provide a new insight into biological mechanisms of LLLT.

J Biomed Opt. 2010 Jul-Aug;15(4):048005.

Importance of pulsing illumination parameters in low-level-light therapy.

Barolet D, Duplay P, Jacomy H, Auclair M.

RoseLab Skin Optics Laboratory, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. daniel.barolet@mcgill.ca


The influence of emission parameters in low-level-light therapy on cellular responses is not yet fully understood. This study assessed the impact of various light delivery modes on collagen production in human primary fibroblast cultured in monolayers after three treatments with red light-emitting diode illumination (630 nm, 8 J/cm(2)). Human type I collagen was measured in cell culture supernatants with procollagen type I C-peptide enzyme immunoassay. Results demonstrated that, 72 h post-baseline, specific microsecond pulsing patterns had a more favorable impact on the ability of fibroblasts to produce collagen de novo than comparative conditions of continuous wave, pulsed 50% duty cycle, and millisecond pulsing domains. The cascade of events leading to collagen production by red illumination may be explained by the photodissociation of nitric oxide from cytochrome c oxidase. Short and intermittent light delivery might enhance this cellular event.

Lasers Surg Med. 2010 Aug;42(6):450-66.

Effect of pulsing in low-level light therapy.

Hashmi JT, Huang YY, Sharma SK, Kurup DB, De Taboada L, Carroll JD, Hamblin MR.

Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Low level light (or laser) therapy (LLLT) is a rapidly growing modality used in physical therapy, chiropractic, sports medicine and increasingly in mainstream medicine. LLLT is used to increase wound healing and tissue regeneration, to relieve pain and inflammation, to prevent tissue death, to mitigate degeneration in many neurological indications. While some agreement has emerged on the best wavelengths of light and a range of acceptable dosages to be used (irradiance and fluence), there is no agreement on whether continuous wave or pulsed light is best and on what factors govern the pulse parameters to be chosen.

STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS: The published peer-reviewed literature was reviewed between 1970 and 2010.

RESULTS: The basic molecular and cellular mechanisms of LLLT are discussed. The type of pulsed light sources available and the parameters that govern their pulse structure are outlined. Studies that have compared continuous wave and pulsed light in both animals and patients are reviewed. Frequencies used in other pulsed modalities used in physical therapy and biomedicine are compared to those used in LLLT.

CONCLUSION: There is some evidence that pulsed light does have effects that are different from those of continuous wave light. However further work is needed to define these effects for different disease conditions and pulse structures.

J Clin Laser Med Surg. 2004 Feb;22(1):15-8.

The comparison of effects between pulsed and CW lasers on wound healing.

Al-Watban FA, Zhang XY.

Laser Medicine Research Section, Biological and Medical Research Department, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. watban@kfshrc.edu.sa


OBJECTIVE: In order to evaluate the effects of pulsed continuous wave (CW) laser and detect the role of wound healing in rats using both pulsed and CW 635-nm low-level laser therapy (LLLT), a pilot study was undertaken. Background Data: Some acceleration effects of wound healing on animals were found after treatment using various lasers with CW. There are other reports, however, using pulsed CW laser to evaluate the effects of wound healing in rats.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An elliptic wound was created aseptically with a scalpel on the shaved back of the rats after anesthesia. The rats treated were restrained in a Plexiglas cage without anesthesia during the laser irradiation period. An Erchonia pulse laser (635 nm) was used in the experiment. The laser beam was delivered through an expander. The percentage of relative wound healing was calculated.

RESULTS: The percentage of relative wound healing was 4.32 in 100 Hz, 3.21 in 200 Hz, 3.83 in 300 Hz, 2.22 in 400 Hz, 1.73 in 500 Hz and 4.81 in CW.

CONCLUSION: LLLT using pulsed, CW laser at the appropriate dosimetry and frequency can provide acceleration in wound healing in rats. The 100-Hz frequency had a better effect than other pulse frequencies used in the study. The effects of treatment using CW laser was higher than pulse frequency. The frequency of pulsed CW laser was not found to increase wound healing in rats compared with normal CW laser, as reported in our previous studies.

Lasers Surg Med. 1996;19(4):433-7.

Effect of laser pulse repetition rate and pulse duration on mast cell number and degranulation.

el Sayed SO, Dyson M.

Tissue Repair Research Unit, U.M.D.S., London, United Kingdom.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Mast cell activation by low-level laser therapy (LLLT), leading to degranulation and the release of mediators, may be one of the mechanisms by which LLLT can accelerate tissue repair in mammals. The objective of this work, part of an investigation to determine the optimum parameters for increasing mast cell number and degranulation in injured skin, was to determine the effect of different pulsing frequencies of LLLT.

STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS: Partial-thickness wounds in anaesthetized adult male Wistar rats were irradiated immediately after injury with monochromatic coherent light (wavelength 820 nm) pulsed at either 2.5, 20, 292, or 20,000 Hz at an average power density of 800 mW/cm2 for 27 seconds; the energy density was 21.6 J/cm2. The effects on mast cell number and degranulation were assessed 2 hours post-treatment by counting the numbers of intact and degranulated mast cells in Carnoy-fixed, toluidine blue-stained, sections of irradiated and sham-irradiated wounds.

RESULTS: The total number of mast cells was increased significantly (P < 0.05) by all the frequencies when compared to the sham-irradiated group, but there was no significant difference between frequencies (P > 0.05). However, although the number of degranulated mast cells was higher in all laser-treated wounds, in comparison with the sham-irradiated group, only the 20 Hz (pulse duration 45 ms) and 292 Hz (pulse duration 3 ms) frequencies were significantly effective (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Increase in mast cell number is not pulsing frequency dependent, whereas degranulation is.