This study was designed to demonstrate that bioluminescence imaging (BLI) can be used as a new tool to evaluate the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) during in vivo inflammatory process. Here, the efficacy of LLLT in modulating inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression using different therapeutic wavelengths was determined using transgenic animals with the luciferase gene under control of the iNOS gene expression. Thirty transgenic mice, FVB/N-Tg(iNOS-luc)Xen, were allocated randomly to one of four experimental groups treated with different wavelengths (λ = 635, 785, 808 and 905 nm) or a control group (nontreated). Inflammation was induced by intra-articular injection of zymosan A in both knee joints. Laser treatment (25 mW cm−2, 200 s, 5 J cm−2) was applied to the knees 15 min after inflammation induction. Measurements of iNOS expression were performed at various times (0, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 24 h) by measuring the bioluminescence signal using a highly sensitive charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. The results showed a significant increase in BLI signal after irradiation with 635 nm laser when compared to the nonirradiated animals and the other LLLT-treated groups, indicating wavelength dependence of LLLT effects on iNOS expression during the inflammatory process, and thus demonstrating an action spectrum of iNOS gene expression following LLLT in vivo that can be detected by BLI. Histological analysis was also performed and demonstrated the presence of fewer inflammatory cells in the synovial joints of mice irradiated with 635 nm compared with nonirradiated knee joints.
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Vol. 81 • No. 6