Low level laser therapy increases angiogenesis in a model of ischemic skin flap in rats mediated by VEGF, HIF-1α and MMP-2
•LLLT enhances the amount of new blood vessels.•Lasers 780 and 660 nm modulate VEGF, MMP-2 and HIF-1α.•Laser 660 nm induces VEGF expression by activated HIF-1α.
It is known that low level laser therapy is able to improve skin flap viability by increasing angiogenesis. However, the mechanism for new blood vessel formation is not completely understood. Here, we investigated the effects of 660 nm and 780 nm lasers at fluences of 30 and 40 J/cm2 on three important mediators activated during angiogenesis. Sixty male Wistar rats were used and randomly divided into five groups with twelve animals each. Groups were distributed as follows: skin flap surgery non-irradiated group as a control; skin flap surgery irradiated with 660 nm laser at a fluence of 30 or 40 J/cm2 and skin flap surgery irradiated with 780 nm laser at a fluence of 30 or 40 J/cm2. The random skin flap was performed measuring 10 × 4 cm, with a plastic sheet interposed between the flap and the donor site. Laser irradiation was performed on 24 points covering the flap and surrounding skin immediately after the surgery and for 7 consecutive days thereafter. Tissues were collected, and the number of vessels, angiogenesis markers (vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF and hypoxia inducible factor, HIF-1α) and a tissue remodeling marker (matrix metalloproteinase, MMP-2) were analyzed. LLLT increased an angiogenesis, HIF-1α and VEGF expression and decrease MMP-2 activity. These phenomena were dependent on the fluences, and wavelengths used. In this study we showed that LLLT may improve the healing of skin flaps by enhancing the amount of new vessels formed in the tissue. Both 660 nm and 780 nm lasers were able to modulate VEGF secretion, MMP-2 activity and HIF-1α expression in a dose dependent manner.
Journal: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology - Volume 125, 5 August 2013, Pages 164–170