Photobiomodulation reduces photoreceptor death and regulates cytoprotection in early states of P23H retinal dystrophy

Diana K. Kirk, Sandeep Gopalakrishnan, Heather Schmitt, Betsy Abroe, Michele Stoehr, Adam Dubis, Joseph Carroll*, Jonathan Stone, Krisztina Valter, Janis Eells

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Irradiation by light in the far-red to near-infrared (NIR) region of the spectrum (photobiomodulation, PBM) has been demonstrated to attenuate the severity of neurodegenerative disease in experimental and clinical studies. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that 670 nm PBM would protect against the loss of retinal function and improve photoreceptor survival in a rodent model of retinitis pigmentosa, the P23H transgenic rat. P23H rat pups were treated once per day with a 670 nm LED array (180 sec treatments at 50 mW/cm2; fluence 9 joules/cm2) (Quantum Devices Inc., Barneveld WI) from postnatal day (p) 16-20 or from p10-20. Sham-treated rats were restrained, but not exposed to NIR light. The status of the retina was determined at p22 by assessment of mitochondrial function, oxidative stress and cell death. In a second series of studies, retinal status was assessed at p30 by measuring photoreceptor function by ERG and retinal morphology by Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT). 670 nm PBM increased retinal mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase activity and upregulated the retina's production of the key mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme, MnSOD. PBM also attenuated photoreceptor cell loss and improved photoreceptor function. PBM protects photoreceptors in the developing P23H retina, by augmenting mitochondrial function and stimulating antioxidant protective pathways. Photobiomodulation may have therapeutic potential, where mitochondrial damage is a step in the death of photoreceptors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VIII
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VIII - San Francisco, CA, United States
    Duration: 2 Feb 20132 Feb 2013

    Publication series

    NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
    ISSN (Print)1605-7422


    ConferenceMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy VIII
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Francisco, CA


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