When considering a new therapeutic modality, it’s necessary for practitioners to understand the underlying mechanisms of action. Regenotech clients looking into laser therapy should be familiar with the fundamentals of photobiomodulation. Photobiomodulation, previously known as low level laser light therapy, is the therapeutic response of eukaryotic cells to certain frequencies of light. Today’s post briefly outlines this cellular interaction shown to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve tissue repair.

Cell Regeneration and Photobiomodulation

bisection of cell with photoacceptors

Near infrared light is just beyond the visible spectrum and has the ability to penetrate tissues and interact with cells below the surface of our skin. Photobiological interaction takes place in the membrane of the mitochondria. Mitochondria produce a form of cellular power know as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is required for many fundamental cell processes including active transport, secretion, endocytosis, synthesis and replication of DNA and movement.

Photoreceptors and the Mitochondria

magnified cross section showing cell regeneration

Photobiomodulation occurs when a photon of light interacts with a known photoreceptor, cytochrome C oxidase. Electrons in the photoreceptor, also known as a chromophore, start at a ground level, steady state of energy. The photon excites theses electrons to move into a higher state which allows them to travel along trans membrane complexes of the mitochondria

Laser Therapy and Microcirculation

magnified view showing microcirculation in cells

At the end of the line the excited electron is accepted by an electron acceptor. This jitterates a proton gradient, meaning that there is a charge differential, which is used in the production of ATP. Chromophore stimulation allows a reserve of ATP to be built up while dissociating nitric oxide from cytochrome C oxidase. Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator which contributes to microcirculation for the delivery of nutrients to damaged tissues.

Laser therapy is utilized in clinics world wide to speed healing while reducing pain and inflammation. Future posts will cover clinical trials utilizing laser therapy and the specific conditions shown to benefit from near infrared light.