Photobiomodulation (PBM) refers to the beneficial effects of low doses of light whether mediating therapeutic effects for pathophysiological processes, or stimulating resistance to physiological challenges. While much is known about beneficial outcomes, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these observed effects is still limited. It has been hypothesized that increases in ATP stimulate downstream signaling through transcription factors. However, it is also known that PBM can induce elevated levels of nitric oxide (NO) in cells, which is thought to occur by release of NO bound to cytochrome-c oxidase (COX). NO is a powerful signaling molecule involved in a host of biological responses; however, the mechanisms of NO production and the role of NO in the PBM response have received little attention. Utilizing human retinal pigmented epithelium cells (RPE) in vitro, coupled with a multi-laser exposure set-up, we have begun to systematically investigate the mechanism of NO production and function in the PBM response. Our data indicates that while NO levels are elevated following single exposures to 447, 532, 635 or 808 nm, the strength of the response is wavelength-dependent, and the response can be modulated by sequential exposures to two different wavelengths. Additionally, this wavelength-dependent rise in NO is independent of the function of nitric oxide synthase, and highly dependent on the source of electrons feeding the electron transport chain of the light-exposed cells. In sum, these results provide a roadmap for interrogating the molecular mechanisms of PBM, and provide novel tools and methods for dissecting NO signaling networks.
Nathaniel J. Pope, Samantha M. Powell, and Jeffrey C. Wigle, "Wavelength dependence of intracellular nitric oxide levels in hTERT-RPE cells in vitro," Proc. SPIE 10477, Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation Therapy XIII, 104770J (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 27, 2018; Published: 8 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2286481.
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