Low-Level Laser Irradiation Improves Motor Recovery After Contusive Spinal Cord Injury in Rats

Junesun Kim, Eun Hye Kim, Koeun Lee, Bokkyu Kim, Youngkyung Kim, Sook Hyun Na, Young Wook Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the therapeutic effects of low-level laser irradiation (LLLI) on the recovery of motor function and its underlying mechanisms in rats with spinal cord injury (SCI). The spinal cord was contused at the T11 level using a New York University impactor. Thirty-eight rats were randomly divided into four groups: LLLI with 0.08 J, 0.4 J, 0.8 J, and sham. We transcutaneously applied at the lesion site of the spinal contusive rats 5 min after injury and then daily for 21 days. The Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor scale and combined behavioral score (CBS) were used to evaluate motor function. The spinal segments of rostral and caudal from the lesion site, the epicenter, and L4–5 were collected from normal and the all groups at 7 days after SCI. The expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was compared across groups in all regions. In the present study, LLLI with 0.4 J and 0.8 J led to a significant improvement in motor function compared to sham LLLI, which significantly decreased TNF-α expression at the lesion epicenter and reduced iNOS expression in the caudal segment for all LLLI groups and in the L4–5 segments for the 0.4 J and 0.8 J groups when compared to sham LLLI group. Our results demonstrate that transcutaneous LLLI modulate inflammatory mediators to enhance motor function recovery after SCI. Thus, LLLI in acute phase after SCI might have therapeutic potential for neuroprotection and restoration of motor function following SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1


  • Low-level laser irradiation
  • Motor recovery
  • Post-traumatic inflammation
  • Secondary injury
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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