Laser Stimulation of Stem Cells in Bone Marrow Could Rebuild Damaged Cells in Yet Another Part of the Body – The Heart


Scientists observed a reduction in scarring of heart tissue after myocardial infarction in rats upon treating a prime source of stem cells, bone marrow in the tibia, with laser energy. They considered the role of circulation of stem cells in the results. This study provides insight into understanding why fibromyalgia and back pain can be relieved with laser therapy by adding a discussion of tissue regeneration through stem cell activation (proof of concept) to the previously understood contribution of increased circulation to healing.

Induction of autologous mesenchymal stem cells in the bone marrow by low-level laser therapy has profound beneficial effects on the infarcted rat heart.

Authors: Tuby H, Maltz L, Oron U.

Citation: Lasers Surg Med. 2011 Jul;43(5):401-9. doi: 10.1002/lsm.21063.


The adult mammalian heart is known to have a very limited regenerative capacity following acute ischemia. In this study we investigated the hypothesis that photobiostimulation of autologous bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) by low-level laser therapy (LLLT) applied to the bone marrow (BM), may migrate to the infarcted area and thus attenuate the scarring processes following myocardial infarction (MI).

Sprague-Dawley rats underwent experimental MI. LLLT (Ga-Al-As diode laser, power density 10 mW/cm², for 100 seconds) was then applied to the BM of the exposed tibia at different time intervals post-MI (20 minutes and 4 hours). Sham-operated infarcted rats served as control.

Infarct size and ventricular dilatation were significantly reduced (76% and 75%, respectively) in the laser-treated rats 20 minutes post-MI as compared to the control-non-treated rats at 3 weeks post-MI. There was also a significant 25-fold increase in cell density of c-kit+ cells in the infarcted area of the laser-treated rats (20 minutes post-MI) as compared to the non-laser-treated controls.

The application of LLLT to autologous BM of rats post-MI offers a novel approach to induce BM-derived MSCs, which are consequently recruited from the circulation to the infarcted heart and markedly attenuate the scarring process post-MI.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Author information
1Department of Zoology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel.
Citation: Lasers Surg Med. 2011 Jul;43(5):401-9. doi: 10.1002/lsm.21063.