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Lasers Surg Med. 2010 Aug;42(6):566-76. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20938.

Targeted increase in cerebral blood flow by transcranial near-infrared laser irradiation.

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Department of Neurosurgery, National Defense Medical College, 3-2 Namiki, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-8513, Japan.



Brain function is highly dependent on cerebral blood flow (CBF). The precise mechanisms by which blood flow is controlled by NIR laser irradiation on the central nervous system (CNS) have not been elucidated. In this study, we examined the effect of 808 nm laser diode irradiation on CBF in mice.


We examined the effect of NIR irradiation on CBF at three different power densities (0.8, 1.6 and 3.2 W/cm(2)) and directly measured nitric oxide (NO) in brain tissue during NIR laser irradiation using an amperometric NO-selective electrode. We also examined the contribution of NO and a neurotransmitter, glutamate, to the regulation of CBF by using a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, N(g)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (L-NAME), and an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor blocker, MK-801, respectively. We examined the change in brain tissue temperature during NIR laser irradiation. We also investigated the protection effect of NIR laser irradiation on transient cerebral ischemia using transient bilateral common carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO) in mice.


We showed that NIR laser irradiation (1.6 W/cm(2) for 15-45 minutes) increased local CBF by 30% compared to that in control mice. NIR laser irradiation also induced a significant increase in cerebral NO concentration. In mice that received L-NAME, NIR laser irradiation did not induce any increase in CBF. Mice administered MK-801 showed an immediate increase but did not show a delayed additional increase in local CBF. The increase in brain tissue temperature induced by laser irradiation was estimated to be as low as 0.8 degrees C at 1.6 W/cm(2), indicating that the heating effect is not a main mechanism of the CBF increase in this condition. Pretreatment with NIR laser irradiation improved residual CBF and reduced the numbers of apoptotic cells in the hippocampus.


Our data suggest that NIR laser irradiation is a promising experimental and therapeutic tool in the field of cerebral circulation research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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