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Photomed Laser Surg. 2011 Oct;29(10):677-84. doi: 10.1089/pho.2010.2879. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

Effects of low-level laser therapy on the oxidative metabolism and matrix proteins in the rat masseter muscle.

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Department of Morphology, Stomatology, and Physiology, Faculty of Dentistry of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Avenida do Cafe s/n - Monte Alegre, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.



This study aims to analyze the effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on the oxidative activity and the expression/activity of metalloproteinases of the masseter muscle.


Currently in dentistry LLLT has been used on patients with muscular disorders, such as the temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) but its effect at the cellular level has not been fully elucidated.


Thirty male Wistar rats divided into 6 groups (n=5) received 10 laser irradiations (780 nm, 5 mmW, CW laser, illuminated area 0.04 cm(2), power density 125 mW/cm(2)), with different energy densities (group I-0; group II-0.5; group III-1.0; group IV-2.5; group V-5.0; and group VI-20 J/cm(2)). Muscles were processed for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide diaphorase (NADH) and sucinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activities and zymography. The photomicrographs were evaluated by the point counting method using a test system and ImageJ software; and by the ANOVA statistical test. The proteinases' secretion/activity was qualitatively analyzed by zymography.


LLLT significantly increased (p<0.05) masseter muscle oxidative metabolism shown by the increased area of intermediary fibers in the NADH (groups IV, V, and VI) and SDH (group V) reactions. The same metabolic pattern was observed among the groups in both reactions. Sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) zymography detected only the MMP-2 expression/activity for the untreated-control group (group I). The exposure to LLLT increased the activity of MPP-2 in group VI and the activity of MMP-9 in all groups exposed to different energy densities of laser irradiation (groups II, III, IV, V, and VI).


Thus, LLLT stimulated the oxidative metabolism and the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) of the masseter muscle, which may indicate a matrix remodeling process. However, group VI did not show the best results for oxidative metabolism, probably indicating that the dosage they were given was high for this protocol.

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