Significance: Photobiomodulation is a well-established therapeutic modality. However, the mechanism of action is poorly understood, due to lack of research in the causal relationship between the near-infrared (NIR) light irradiation and its specific biological effects, hindering broader applications of this technology.
Aim: Since biological chromophores typically show several absorption peaks, we determined whether specific effects of photobiomodulation are induced with a combination of two wavelengths at a certain range of irradiance only, rather than a single wavelength of NIR light.
Approach: In order to analyze a wide array of combinations of multispectral NIR light at various irradiances efficiently, we developed a new optical platform equipped with two distinct wavelengths of NIR lasers by high-throughput multiple dosing for single-cell live imaging. Two wavelengths of 1064 and 1270 nm were selected based on their photobiomodulatory effects reported in the literature.
Results: A specific combination of wavelengths at low irradiances (250 to 400 mW / cm2 for 1064 nm and 55 to 65 mW / cm2 for 1270 nm) modulates mitochondrial retrograde signaling, including intracellular calcium and reactive oxygen species in T cells. The time-dependent density functional theory computation of binding of nitric oxide (NO) to cytochrome c oxidase indicates that the illumination with NIR light could result in the NO release, which might be involved in these changes.
Conclusions: This optical platform is a powerful tool to study causal relationship between a specific parameter of NIR light and its biological effects. Such a platform is useful for a further mechanistic study on not only photobiomodulation but also other modalities in photomedicine.