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Pre-Irradiation of blood by gallium aluminum arsenide (830 nm) low-level laser enhances peripheral endogenous opioid analgesia in rats

Hagiwara S, Iwasaka H, Hasegawa A, Noguchi T.
Department of Brain and Nerve Science, Anesthesiology, Oita University Faculty of Medicine
Anesth Analg. 2008 Sep;107(3):1058-63.

Background

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been reported to relieve pain, free of side effects. However, the mechanisms underlying LLLT are not well understood. Recent studies have also demonstrated that opioid-containing immune cells migrate to inflamed sites and release beta-endorphins to inhibit pain as a mode of peripheral endogenous opioid analgesia. We investigated whether pre-irradiation of blood by LLLT enhances peripheral endogenous opioid analgesia.

Methods

The effect of LLLT pre-treatment of blood on peripheral endogenous opioid analgesia was evaluated in a rat model of inflammation. Additionally, the effect of LLLT on opioid production was also investigated in vitro in rat blood cells. The expression of the beta-endorphin precursors, proopiomelanocortin and corticotrophin releasing factor, were investigated by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Results

LLLT pre-treatment produced an analgesic effect in inflamed peripheral tissue, which was transiently antagonized by naloxone. Correspondingly, beta-endorphin precursor mRNA expression increased with LLLT, both in vivo and in vitro.

Conclusion

These findings suggest that that LLLT pre-treatment of blood induces analgesia in rats by enhancing peripheral endogenous opioid production, in addition to previously reported mechanisms.