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J Invest Dermatol. 1992 Oct;99(4):445-8.

Low-energy helium neon laser irradiation does not alter human keratinocyte differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


There are reports that low-energy HeNe irradiation can enhance wound healing in vivo. We have previously demonstrated that HeNe irradiation increases the motility of human epidermally derived keratinocytes in vitro. Here we investigate whether HeNe irradiation alters normal keratinocyte differentiation, which is essential for the formation of a normal, functioning epidermis. Subconfluent keratinocyte cultures were irradiated three times within 24 h with either 0, 0.8, 3, or 7.2 J/cm2. After cultures reached post-confluence, parameters of growth and differentiation, such as cell number, cornified envelope (CE) formation, and transglutaminase activity were measured. No significant differences were found between the control (0 J) and irradiated cultures in these assays. We also examined the pattern of newly synthesized keratins in cultures irradiated with 7.2 J/cm2 three times within a 24-h period. Both control and irradiated cultures exhibited similar keratin patterns. These results provide evidence that HeNe irradiations of up to 7.2 J/cm2 have no direct deleterious effect on normal keratinocyte differentiation needed for the formation of a functional epidermis. Hence, it is anticipated that the clinical use of the HeNe laser irradiance that enhances keratinocyte migration in vitro (0.8 J/cm2) to promote wound healing in vivo will not alter the ultimate integrity or differentiated function of the epidermis that migrates to cover the wounded area.

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