Photobiomodulation on human annulus fibrosus cells during the intervertebral disk degeneration: extracellular matrix-modifying enzymes

Min Ho Hwang, Kyoung Soo Kim, Chang Min Yoo, Jae Hee Shin, Hyo Geun Nam, Jin Su Jeong, Joo Han Kim, Kwang Ho Lee, Hyuk Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Destruction of extracellular matrix (ECM) leads to degeneration of the intervertebral disk (IVD), which is a major contributor to many spine disorders. IVD degeneration is induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), which are secreted by immune cells, including macrophages and neutrophils. The cytokines modulate ECM-modifying enzymes such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in human annulus fibrosus (AF) cells. The resulting imbalance in catabolic and anabolic enzymes can cause generalized back, neck, and low back pain (LBP). Photobiomodulation (PBM) is known to regulate inflammatory responses and wound healing. The aim of this study was to mimic the degenerative IVD microenvironment, and to investigate the effect of a variety of PBM conditions (wavelength: 635, 525, and 470 nm; energy density: 16, 32, and 64 J/cm2) on the production of ECM-modifying-enzymes by AF cells under degenerative conditions induced by macrophage-conditioned medium (MCM), which contains pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-β secreted by macrophage during the development of intervertebral disk inflammation. We showed that the MCM-stimulated AF cells express imbalanced ratios of TIMPs (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2) and MMPs (MMP-1 and MMP-3). PBM selectively modulated the production of ECM-modifying enzymes in AF cells. These results suggest that PBM can be a therapeutic tool for degenerative IVD disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-777
Number of pages11
JournalLasers in Medical Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s). No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript. This study was supported by a grant of the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI13C1501), and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2015R1A1A2056873). This work was approved by Korea University Guro Hospital Institutional Review Board.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag London.


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Human annulus fibrosus
  • Inflammation
  • Intervertebral disk degeneration
  • Photobiomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Photobiomodulation on human annulus fibrosus cells during the intervertebral disk degeneration: extracellular matrix-modifying enzymes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this