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Int J Exp Pathol. 2017 Apr;98(2):75-85. doi: 10.1111/iep.12226. Epub 2017 May 29.

Low-level laser therapy (780 nm) combined with collagen sponge scaffold promotes repair of rat cranial critical-size defects and increases TGF-β, FGF-2, OPG/RANK and osteocalcin expression.

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Department of Dentistry, Post-Graduation Program in Public Health, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil.
Department of Biophysics and Pharmacology, Post Graduation Program in Public Health/Post Graduation Program in Pharmaceutical Science, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil.
Department of Morphology, Post Graduation Program in Health Science/Post Graduation Program in Functional and Structural Biology, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil.
Department of Morphology, Post-Graduation Program in Oral Pathology, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of collagen sponge scaffold (CSS) implantation associated with low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on repairing bone defects. A single 5-mm cranial defect was surgically created in forty Wistar rats, which then received one of the following four interventions (n = 10 per group): no treatment (G0); bone defect implanted with collagen sponge scaffold (CSS) alone (G1); defect treated with low-level laser therapy (LLLT) (wavelength 780 nm; total energy density 120 J/cm2 ; power 50 mW) alone (G2); and CSS associated with LLLT treatment (G3). After surgery, animals in each group were euthanized at 21 days and 30 days (n = 5 per euthanasia time group). Bone formation was monitored by X-ray imaging analysis. Biopsies were collected and processed for histological analysis and immunohistochemical evaluation of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator of nuclear factor ƙ (RANK). Osteocalcin (OCN) was detected by immunofluorescence analysis. Compared to the G0 group, defects in the 30-day G3 group exhibited increased bone formation, both by increase in radiopaque areas (P < 0.01) and by histomorphometric analysis (P < 0.001). The histopathological analysis showed a decreased number of inflammatory cells (P < 0.001). The combined CCS + LLLT (G3) treatment also resulted in the most intense immunostaining for OPG, RANK, FGF-2 and TGF-β, and the most intense and diffuse OCN immunofluorescent labelling at 30 days postsurgery (G3 vs. G0 group, P < 0.05). Therefore, the use of CCS associated with LLLT could offer a synergistic advantage in improving the healing of bone fractures.


FGF-2; TGF-β; bone defect; collagen sponge scaffold; low-level laser therapy; osteocalcin

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