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Brain Res. 2010 Jan 8;1306:100-5. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.10.022. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Transcranial near infrared laser treatment (NILT) increases cortical adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP) content following embolic strokes in rabbits.

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University of California San Diego, Department of Neuroscience, 9500 Gilman Drive MTF316, La Jolla, CA 92093-0624, USA.

Erratum in

  • Brain Res. 2010 Mar 19;1321:182.


Transcranial near infrared laser therapy (NILT) improves behavioral outcome following embolic strokes in embolized rabbits and clinical rating scores in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients; however, the cellular mechanism(s) involved in NILT neuroprotection have not been elucidated. It has been proposed that mitochondrial energy production may underlie a response to NILT, but this has not been demonstrated using an in vivo embolic stroke model. Thus, we evaluated the effect of NILT on cortical ATP content using the rabbit small clot embolic stroke model (RSCEM), the model originally used to demonstrate NILT efficacy and initiate the NEST-1 clinical trial. Five minutes following embolization, rabbits were exposed to 2 min of NILT using an 808 nm laser source, which was driven to output either continuous wave (CW), or pulsed wave modes (PW). Three hours after embolization, the cerebral cortex was excised and processed for the measurement of ATP content using a standard luciferin-luciferase assay. NILT-treated rabbits were directly compared to sham-treated embolized rabbits and naïve control rabbits. Embolization decreased cortical ATP content in ischemic cortex by 45% compared to naive rabbits, a decrease that was attenuated by CW NILT which resulted in a 41% increase in cortical ATP content compared to the sham embolized group (p>0.05). The absolute increase in ATP content was 22.5% compared to naive rabbits. Following PW NILT, which delivered 5 (PW1) and 35 (PW2) times more energy than CW, we measured a 157% (PW1 p=0.0032) and 221% (PW2 p=0.0001) increase in cortical ATP content, respectively, compared to the sham embolized group. That represented a 41% and 77% increase in ATP content compared to naive control rabbits. This is the first demonstration that embolization can decrease ATP content in rabbit cortex and that NILT significantly increases cortical ATP content in embolized rabbits, an effect that is correlated with cortical fluence and the mode of NILT delivery. The data provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms associated with clinical improvement following NILT.

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