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J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2016 Oct-Dec;7(4):234-241. Epub 2016 Mar 10.

Effect of near-infrared light on in vitro cellular ATP production of osteoblasts and fibroblasts and on fracture healing with intramedullary fixation.

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Research Scientist, Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
Child Neurology Fellow, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
Research Technologist, Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
Assistant Professor, Research Office, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
Assistant Professor, Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.
Bleser Professor of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, USA.



Evaluate the effect of near-infrared light (NIR) on immediate production of ATP by osteoblasts and fibroblasts in vitro, and the healing process of rat femur fractures with intramedullary fixation.


NIR is one potential treatment option for complications of fracture healing, which has shown to stimulate cellular proliferation and to enhance the healing process.


Cell culture - MC3T3-E1 and 3T3-A31 cells were subjected to NIR at 660 nm, 830 nm, or both combined. ATP was assayed at 5, 10, 20, and 45 min after exposure. Animal study - 18 rats had surgery with retrograde intramedullary pins inserted into their femurs, which then underwent closed, transverse femur fracture. Rats were randomly divided into 3 study groups of 6 each: nonirradiated controls, 660 nm, and 830 nm NIR. Healing process was assessed by a blinded radiologist, assigning a healing score of 1-6 for radiographs taken on days 0, 7, 14, and 21.


Cell culture - All groups gave significant increase in ATP within 5-10 min, with decay to baseline by 45 min. 660 nm NIR was significantly more effective than 830 nm with fibroblasts or either wavelength with osteoblasts. Animal study - A significant increase in the fracture healing grade in the 660 nm group at day 14, but with no differences at day 21.


The study demonstrated an immediate increase in ATP production in vitro and an initial acceleration of callus formation in the fracture healing process, in the presence of NIR.


Cellular ATP production; Clinical application; Fracture healing; Near-infrared light (NIR); Radiographic scoring

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