Author(s): Coombe AR
Low level laser therapy has been used in treating many conditions with reports of multiple clinical effects including promotion of healing of both hard and soft tissue lesions. Low level laser therapy as a treatment modality remains controversial, however. The effects of wavelength, beam type, energy output, energy level, energy intensity, and exposure regime of low level laser therapy remain unexplained. Moreover, no specific therapeutic window for dosimetry and mechanism of action has been determined at the level of individual cell types. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of low level laser irradiation on the human osteosarcoma cell line, SAOS-2. The cells were irradiated as a single or daily dose for up to 10 days with a GaAlAs continuous wave diode laser (830 nm, net output of 90 mW, energy levels of 0.3, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 Joules). Cell viability was not affected by laser irradiation, with the viability being greater than 90% for all experimental groups. Cellular proliferation or activation was not found to be significantly affected by any of the energy levels and varying exposure regimes investigated. Low level laser irradiation did result in a heat shock response at an energy level of 2 J. No significant early or late effects of laser irradiation on protein expression and alkaline phosphatase activity were found. Investigation of intracellular calcium concentration revealed a tendency of a transient positive change after irradiation. Low level laser irradiation was unable to stimulate the osteosarcoma cells utilised for this research at a gross cell population level. The heat shock response and increased intracellular calcium indicate that the cells do respond to low level laser irradiation. Further research is required, utilising different cell and animal models, to more specifically determine the effects of low level laser irradiation at a cellular level. These effects should be more thoroughly investigated before low level laser therapy can be considered as a potential accelerator stimulus for orthodontic tooth movement.