Exposure to 2.88 J/cm2 of red light induces an adaptive response against a lethal pulse of 2.0 μm laser radiation in hTERT-RPE cells in vitro, but not in a knockdown mutant for vascular endothelial growth factor c (VEGF-C). The generally accepted initiation sequence for photobiomodulation is that absorption of red light by cytochome c oxidase (CCOX) of the electron transport chain increases the binding affinity of CCOX for O2 vs. nitric oxide (NO). This results in displacement of NO by O2 in the active site of CCOX, thereby increasing cellular respiration and intracellular ATP. We've previously reported that red-light exposure induces a small, but consistently reproducible, increase in NO levels in these cells. But the relative importance of NO and oxidative phosphorylation is unclear because little is known about the relative contributions of NO and ATP to the response. However, if NO dissociation from CCOX actually increases oxidative phosphorylation, one should see a corresponding increase in oxygen consumption. A Seahorse Extracellular Flux Analyzer was used to measure oxygen consumption rates (OCR) in normal and mutant cells as a proxy for oxidative phosphorylation. Both basal respiration and maximum respiration rates in normal cells are significantly higher
than in the mutant. The normal cells have a significant amount of “excess capacity,” whereas the VEGF-C(KD) have
little or none. The OCR in exposed normal cells is lower than in unexposed cells when measured immediately after
exposure. The exposures used for these experiments had no effect on the OCR in mutant cells.
Jeffrey C. Wigle and Cherry C. Castellanos, "In vitro measurements of oxygen consumption rates in hTERT-RPE cells exposed to low levels of red light," Proc. SPIE 9695, Mechanisms of Photobiomodulation Therapy XI, 96950A (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 13, 2016; Published: 23 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2210738.
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