Lasers Surg Med. Dec: 39(10): 797-802.
Hagiwara S, Iwasaka H, Okuda K, Noguchi T. (2007)
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been reported to relieve pain with minimal side effects. Recent studies have 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. The present study investigates whether LLLT may enhance peripheral endogenous opioid analgesia. Methods: The effect of LLLT on opioid analgesia and production was evaluated in vivo in a rat model of inflammation as well as in vitro in Jurkat cells, a human T-cell leukemia cell line. mRNA expression of the beta-endorphin precursors proopiomelanocortin and corticotrophin releasing factor was assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results: LLLT produced an analgesic effect in inflamed peripheral tissue which was transiently antagonized by naloxone. Beta-endorphin precursor mRNA expression increased with LLLT, both in vivo and in vitro. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that LLLT produces analgesic effects in a rat model of peripheral inflammation. We further revealed an additional mechanism of LLLT-mediated analgesia via enhancement of peripheral endogenous opioids. These findings suggest that LLLT induces analgesia in rats by enhancing peripheral endogenous opioid production in addition to previously reported mechanisms.