Photobiomodulation therapy mitigates cardiovascular aging and improves survival

Sunayana Begum Syed, Ismayil Ahmet, Khalid Chakir, Christopher H. Morrell, Praveen R. Arany, Edward G. Lakatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, a form of low-dose light therapy, has been noted to be effective in several age-associated chronic diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. Here, we examined the effects of PBM therapy on age-associated cardiovascular changes in a mouse model of accelerated cardiac aging. Methods: Fourteen months old Adenylyl cyclase type VIII (AC8) overexpressing transgenic mice (n = 8) and their wild-type (WT) littermates (n = 8) were treated with daily exposure to Near-Infrared Light (850 nm) at 25 mW/cm2 for 2 min each weekday for a total dose of 1 Einstein (4.5 p.J/cm2 or fluence 3 J/cm2) and compared to untreated controls over an 8-month period. PBM therapy was administered for 3.5 months (Early Treatment period), paused, due to Covid-19 restrictions for the following 3 months, and restarted again for 1.5 months. Serial echocardiography and gait analyses were performed at monthly intervals, and serum TGF-β1 levels were assessed following sacrifice. Results: During the Early Treatment period PBM treatments: reduced the age-associated increases in left ventricular (LV) mass in both genotypes (p = 0.0003), reduced the LV end-diastolic volume (EDV) in AC8 (p = 0.04); and reduced the left atrial dimension in both genotypes (p = 0.02). PBM treatments substantially increased the LV ejection fraction (p = 0.03), reduced the aortic wall stiffness (p = 0.001), and improved gait symmetry, an index of neuro-muscular coordination (p = 0.005). The effects of PBM treatments, measured following the pause, persisted. Total TGF-β1 levels were significantly increased in circulation (serum) in AC8 following PBM treatments (p = 0.01). We observed a striking increase in cumulative survival in PBM-treated AC8 mice (100%; p = 0.01) compared to untreated AC8 mice (43%). Conclusion: PBM treatment mitigated age-associated cardiovascular remodeling and reduced cardiac function, improved neuromuscular coordination, and increased longevity in an experimental animal model. These responses correlate with increased TGF-β1 in circulation. Future mechanistic and dose optimization studies are necessary to assess these anti-aging effects of PBM, and validation in future controlled human studies is required for effective clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-293
Number of pages16
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • AC8
  • TGF-β1
  • aging
  • heart
  • mice
  • photobiomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Surgery


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