The effects of low-level laser light exposure on sperm motion characteristics and DNA damage

Ross S. Firestone, Navid Esfandiari, Sergey I. Moskovtsev, Eliezer Burstein, German T. Videna, Clifford Librach, Yaakov Bentov, Robert F. Casper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine the effects of low-level laser light exposure on the motility of spermatozoa and on DNA damage. Thirty-three semen samples were collected for routine analysis and were classified as normospermic, oligospermic, or asthenospermic. After routine semen analysis was performed, residual semen was divided into treated and control aliquots. Treated samples were exposed to a 30-second infrared laser pulse of 50 mW/cm 2 at 905 nm, a wavelength thought to increase light-sensitive cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Samples were then incubated at 37deg;C, and aliquots were analyzed at 30 minutes and 2 hours using computerassisted semen analysis. After incubation, 250mu;L of each sample was frozen at -80deg;C until DNA fragmentation analysis by flow cytometry. A significant increase in motility, most prominent in oligospermic and asthenospermic samples (85% increase), was observed 30 minutes after the treatment (P <.0001). No significant increase in DNA damage compared with control samples was observed. Significant changes in sperm motion kinetics were observed. Low-level laser light exposure appears to have a positive short-term effect on the motility of treated spermatozoa and did not cause any increase in DNA damage measured at 2 hours. We conclude that some cases of asthenospermia may be related to mitochondrial dysfunction. The implications of this study in terms of future clinical applications needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-473
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Andrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Assisted reproduction ICSI
  • Semen analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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