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.
Oxidative stress (OS), which increases during retinal degenerative disorders, contributes to photoreceptor cell loss. The
objective of this study was to investigate the changes in the metabolic state of the eye tissue in rodent models of retinitis pigmentosa by using the cryofluorescence imaging technique. The mitochondrial metabolic coenzymes NADH and FADH2 are autofluorescent and can be monitored without exogenous labels using optical techniques. The NADH redox ratio (RR), which is the ratio of the fluorescence intensity of these fluorophores (NADH/FAD), was used as a quantitative diagnostic marker. The NADH RR was examined in an established rodent model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the P23H rat, and compared to that of control Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats and P23H NIR treated rats. Our results demonstrated 24% decrease in the mean NADH RR of the eyes from P23H transgenic rats compared to normal rats and 20% increase in the mean NADH RR of the eyes from the P23H NIR treated rats compared to P23H non-treated rats.
Oxidative stress (OS) and mitochondrial dysfunction contribute to photoreceptor cell loss in retinal degenerative disorders. The metabolic state of the retina in a rodent model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) was investigated using a cryo-fluorescence imaging technique. The mitochondrial metabolic coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) are autofluorescent and can be monitored without exogenous labels using optical techniques. The cryo-fluorescence redox imaging technique provides a quantitative assessment of the metabolism. More specifically, the ratio of the fluorescence intensity of these fluorophores (NADH/FAD), the NADH redox ratio (RR), is a marker of the metabolic state of the tissue. The NADH RR and retinal function were examined in an established rodent model of RP, the P23H rat compared to that of nondystrophic Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. The NADH RR mean values were 1.11±0.03 in the SD normal and 0.841±0.01 in the P23H retina, indicating increased OS in the P23H retina. Electroretinographic data revealed a significant reduction in photoreceptor function in P23H animals compared to SD nozrmal rats. Thus, cryo-fluorescence redox imaging was used as a quantitative marker of OS in eyes from transgenic rats and demonstrated that alterations in the oxidative state of eyes occur during the early stages of RP.
Studies in our laboratory demonstrate that the action spectrum for stimulation of cytochrome oxidase
activity and cellular ATP parallels the near-infrared absorption spectrum of cytochrome oxidase and that
660-680 nm irradiation upregulates cytochrome oxidase activity in cultured neurons. Treatment with nearinfrared
light augments cellular energy production and neuronal viability following mitochondrial injury
linking the actions of red to near-infrared light on mitochondrial metabolism in vitro and cell injury in vivo.
NIR light treatment represents an innovative therapeutic approach for disease processes in which
mitochondrial dysfunction is postulated to play a role including Parkinson's disease, laser eye injury and
Age-related macular degeneration.
We have initiated experiments designed to test the hypothesis that 670-nm Light-Emitting Diode (LED) exposure will attenuate formate-induced retinal dysfunction in a rodent model of methanol toxicity. Methanol intoxication produces toxic injury to the retina. The toxic metabolite formed in methanol intoxication is formic acid, a mitochondrial toxin known to inhibit cytochrome oxidase activity. 670-nm LED light has been hypothesized to act by stimulating cytochrome oxidase activity. To test this hypothesis, one group of animals was intoxicated with methanol, a second group was intoxicated with methanol and LED-treated and a third group was untreated. LED treatment (670 nm for 1 min 45 seconds equals 50 mW/cm2, 4 joules/cm2) was administered at 5, 25, and 50 hours after the initial dose of methanol. At 72 hours of methanol intoxication, retinal function was assessed by measurement of ERG responses and retinas were prepared for histologic analysis. ERG responses recorded in methanol-intoxicated animals revealed profound attenuation of both rod-dominated and UV-cone mediated responses. In contrast, methanol- intoxicated animals exposed to LED treatment exhibited a nearly complete recovery of rod-dominated ERG responses and a slight improvement of UV-cone mediated ERG responses. LED treatment also protected the retina against the histopathologic changes produced by formate in methanol intoxication. These data provide evidence that LED phototherapy protects the retina against the cytotoxic actions of formate and are consistent with the hypothesis that LED photostimulation improves mitochondrial respiratory chain function.