Effects on the mitosis of normal and tumor cells induced by light treatment of different wavelengths

Ronald Sroka, Moshe Schaffer, Claudia Fuchs, Thomas Pongratz, Uta Schrader-Reichard, Martin Busch, Pamela M. Schaffer, Eckhart Dühmke, Reinhold Baumgartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective: Although the background of laser therapy by means of low level energy and power is still only partially understood, there are nevertheless promising reports from clinical studies concerning pain treatment, the acceleration of wound healing, and the modulation of cell functions. In order to contribute to the understanding of such a phototherapeutic procedure cell experiments were performed. Materials and Methods: The influence of light (λ = 410, 488, 630, 635, 640, 805, and 1,064 nm and broad band white light) on the proliferation of cells was investigated on skeletal myotubes (C2), normal urothelial cells (HCV29), human squamous carcinoma cells of the gingival mucosa (ZMK1), urothelial carcinoma cells (J82), glioblastoma cells (U373MG), and mamma adenocarcinoma cells (MCF7) in a computer-controlled light treatment chamber. The cellular response was tested by way of the following methods: The rate of mitosis was determined by counting the single cells after Orcein-staining. The proliferation index measurements were based on the BrdU incorporation during the DNA synthesis. Statistics were performed using unpaired Student's t-test procedures, stating P < 0.05 to be significant and P>0.05 not to be significant. Results: Twenty- four hours after light treatment, a significant increase in the mitotic rate of J82 and HCV29 cells was determined when illuminated with λ = 410 nm, λ = 635 nm and λ = 805 nm, respectively. C2 cells showed an increase only after λ = 635 nm illumination. In all three cell lines, a maximum mitotic rate was determined after an irradiation between 4 and 8 J/cm2, while a reduced mitotic rate was measured at 20 J/cm2. MCF7, U373MG, and ZMK1 cells showed a slight decrease in the mitotic rate with increasing irradiation independent of the wavelength used. When an irradiation of 20 J/cm2 was applied, all cell lines showed a slight decrease compared to the controls independent to the wavelength used. White light as well as λ = 1,064 nm does not affect the mitotic rate in this irradiation range. No significant differences in the effects could be determined when the irradiance changed between 10 and 150 mW/cm2 at certain irradiation values. The BrdU test did not show any significant alterations with respect to possible light induced processes compared to the controls. Conclusions: Dependent upon the irradiation parameter, light of a defined wavelength does affect the mitotic rate of both normal as well as tumor cells. It could be hypothesized that the action spectra of the cellular response indicate the participation of endogenous porphyrins and cytochroms as primary photoreceptors. Taking into account all light induced processes, the term biomodulation should preferably be used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 14 Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Action spectra
  • Biomodulation
  • Biostimulation
  • Low level laser therapy
  • Wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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