Low-power lasers are commonly used in human medicine for treatment of various pathological conditions, but mechanisms of their healing effects are still poorly understood. The results of this study provide information related to these effects at the cellular level. Two different protozoan species, Euglena gracilis and Tetrahymena thermophila, were used to study changes in locomotion behavior in response to low-power lasers. The cells were irradiated at 830 and 650 nm generated by a semiconductor laser (99 J/cm2, 360 mW) and a laser pointer (0.75 J/cm2, 5 mW), respectively, and their locomotion was recorded by a TV camera and analyzed using computer software. Exposure to laser light, regardless of the wavelength, resulted in increased cell velocity in both species (P < 0.001). Exposure to 650 nm produced an equal increase in median cell velocity in both E. gracilis (19.0%) and T. thermophila (18.2%), and some increase persisted in the postirradiation 30 s period. Irradiation by the 830 nm laser resulted in a markedly higher response in Tetrahymena (29.4%) than in Euglena (15.2%), and the two median values remained increased after irradiation was discontinued. Different reactions found in the species studied and some mechanisms underlying the response of cells to radiation are discussed.
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Vol. 80 • No. 3