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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2016 Oct-Dec;30(4):997-1007.

Effect of low energy light irradiation by light emitting diode on U937 cells.

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Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, University G. d’Annunzio of Chieti, Italy.
Unit of Predictive Medicine and Clinical Molecular biology, SS Annunziata University Hospital, ASL Lanciano-Vasto-Chieti, University G d’Annunzio, Chieti, Italy.
Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy.
CNR, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Section of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.


Photobiomodulation (PBM) can induce a set of different biological modulators either in vitro or in vivo. Experimental evidence has highlighted the role of light effects on the mechanisms related to inflammation, apoptosis and autophagy. The goal of this project was the evaluation of PBM on U937, an established cell line of histiocytic lymphoma origin. Several aspects of modulation of proinflammatory pathways were analyzed and autophagic and proapoptotic mechanisms related to low laser light exposure of cells were studied. As a source of low energy light emission, we used an NIR-LED device, characterized by an 880 nm-wavelength as light source. Flow cytometry analysis was performed on supernatants of controls and treated U937 cells to detect inflammatory cytokine levels. In order to evaluate NF-kB and caspase3 expressions, Western blot analysis was performed according to standard procedures. In this report, we show the effect of PBM on a monocyte/macrophage established tumor cell line (U-937). We demonstrate that LED exposure, in the presence or absence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), activates cell degranulation, increased expression of Interleukin-8 (IL-8) and modulation of beta galactosidase activity. Evidence shows that the well-known pro-inflammatory nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB) and the apoptotic marker (caspase3/cleaved-caspase3 ratio) are up-regulated in response to a proinflammatory biochemical pathway.

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