Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(11):1105-1112. doi:10.7150/ijms.25651 This issue

Research Paper

Effect of laser therapy on expression of angio- and fibrogenic factors, and cytokine concentrations during the healing process of human pressure ulcers

Jakub Taradaj1,2✉, Barbara Shay2, Robert Dymarek3, Mirosław Sopel3, Karolina Walewicz4, Dimitri Beeckman5, Lisette Schoonhoven6, Amit Gefen7, Joanna Rosińczuk3

1. Department of Physiotherapy Basics, Academy of Physical Education, 72B Mikolowska St, 40-065 Katowice, Poland
2. College of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Manitoba, McDermot Av, R106 - 771, Winnipeg, Canada
3. Department of Nervous System Diseases, Wroclaw Medical University, 5 Bartla St, 51-618, Wroclaw, Poland
4. Faculty of Physiotherapy, Public Higher Medical Professional School, 68 Katowicka St, 45-060, Opole, Poland
5. University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, Department of Public Health, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185 5K3 B-9000, Ghent, Belgium
6. Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, University Rd SO17 1BJ, Southampton, United Kingdom
7. Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, 6997801, Tel Aviv, Israel

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Taradaj J, Shay B, Dymarek R, Sopel M, Walewicz K, Beeckman D, Schoonhoven L, Gefen A, Rosińczuk J. Effect of laser therapy on expression of angio- and fibrogenic factors, and cytokine concentrations during the healing process of human pressure ulcers. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(11):1105-1112. doi:10.7150/ijms.25651. Available from

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Objective: To evaluate the effect of laser irradiation at different wavelengths on the expression of selected growth factors and inflammatory mediators at particular stages of the wound healing process.

Methods: Sixty-seven patients were recruited, treated, and analyzed (group A - 940 nm: 17 patients; group B - 808 nm: 18 patients; group C - 658 nm: 16 patients; group D - sham therapy: 17 patients). Patients received a basic treatment, including repositioning and mobilization, air pressure mattress and bed support surfaces, wound cleansing and drug therapy. Additionally, patients received laser therapy once a day, 5 times a week for 1 month in use of a semiconductor lasers (GaAlAs) which emitted a continuous radiation emission at separate wavelengths of 940 nm (group A), 808 nm (group B) and 658 nm (group C). In group D (sham therapy), laser therapy was applied in the same manner, but the device was off during each session (only the applicator was switched on to scan pressure ulcers using none coherent red visible light).

Results: The positive changes in the measured serum (IL-2, IL-6 and TNF-α) and wound tissue (TNF-α, VEGF and TGFβ1) parameters appeared to be connected only with the wavelength of 658 nm. The significant change in pro-inflammatory mediator levels [interleukin 2 (IL-2) with p=0.008 and interleukin 6 (IL-6) with p=0.016] was noticed after two weeks of laser therapy. In the other groups, the inflammation was also reduced, but the process was not as marked as in group C. Similarly, in the case of tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) concentration, where after two weeks of treatment with irradiation at a wavelength of 658 nm, a rapid suppression was observed (p=0.001), whereas in the other groups, these results were much slower and not as obvious. Interestingly, again in the case of group C, the change in TNF-α concentration in wound tissue was most intensive (≈75% reduction), whereas the changes in other groups were not as obvious (≈50% reduction). After irradiation (658 nm), the VEGF expression increased significantly within the first two weeks, and then it decreased and maintained a stable level. In contrast, the TGFβ1 activity remained level, but always higher in comparison to other groups

Conclusions: The effective healing of pressure ulcers is connected with laser irradiation at a wavelength of 658 nm. We believe that this effect is related to the inhibition of inflammatory processes in the wound and stimulation of angiogenesis and fibroblast proliferation at this specific radiation (based both on concentration of interleukins and TNF-α serum level and VEGF, TGFβ1, TNF-α activities in wound biopsies). Laser therapy at wavelengths of 940 and 808 nm does not significantly affect the above-mentioned repair processes, which explains its low effectiveness in the treatment of pressure ulcers.

Keywords: pressure ulcers, laser therapy, growth factors, interleukins