The above diagram was sent to me by Dr. Halasa. Dr. Halasa shares many of the same thoughts as my self concerning photo modulation and nitric oxide. We are now at a point that we are beginning to see that laser stimulation is going to be very important in the field of stem cell medicine. Lasers, the immune system and nitric oxide all seem to be tied together. I suspect we will be seeing increasing importance in the links between these systems and stem cells. I would like to take a bit of time and discuss each of these entities.

Recently, I had the good fortune to be invited by Dr. Alan Bauman to be part of the faculty for a pre conference workshop on hair loss. For those of you who know me or have seen me this is somewhat of an oxymoron. As you may have surmised I am rather sparse on top of my head. Yet I suspect that stem cells may some day restore the head of hair. We are getting a bit off track. I had the good fortune to meet a fellow faculty member Dr. Michael Hamblin of Mass General and Harvard Univ. Dr. Hamblin specializes in a new field of medicine called Photomedicine. The facility at Mass General is called the Wellman Center. We have known for many years that lasers and light therapy have been important in stimulating hair regrowth. It was one of those things I knew about but I really did not understand how it worked. We need to realize that growing hair is not that much different from growing cartilage cells.

Lasers or as we sometime call it low laser light therapy (LLLT) are instrumental in the stem cell field. I have been using them for a number of years. Light therapy has many profound effects. We know that it seems to have an effect on the production of Exosomes. It seems to activate what are called senescent cells. It also seems to activate Very Small Embryonic Like Stem Cells. We knew these things were happening but we were not sure why.

The pieces of the puzzle are now starting to fit together But I want to borrow a phrase from one of my slides in my talks “THE MORE WE KNOW THE MORE WE DON’T KNOW”. I think this is a very appropriate description of the field of stem cells and for that matter all of science. As I learn more I realize there are many more things I don’t know about concerning what I just learned. This is a never ending cycle. What I think I have learned about lasers and light is that they have a profound effect on many aspects of the cell. Light therapy goes down to the basics of cell biology. What we now know is that the mitochondria which are the powerhouses of the cells have photoreceptors. In light therapy there is absorption of photons in a portion of the mitochondria cells. This has a direct effect on the cellular electron respiratory transport chain. This involves the Krebs cycle which brings us back to biochemistry days. The result in the improvement in the electron transport chain is greater production of ATP. ATP is the essential energy of most cells. If cells are exposed to more energy than they will typically be more efficient at doing their job. LLLT seems to paradoxically increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) in healthy tissue but most importantly it decreases ROS in those tissues which suffer from oxidative stress. So we have little effect adverse effects on normal cells from ROS but a significant positive effect on ROS in diseased tissue. The use of LLLT in patients involves mainly red and near infrared (NIR). The wavelength of this light is between 600-950 nm.

We find that low level light therapy have many profound effects on the cells. It appears that all genes from the antioxidant related category and genes related to energy metabolism and the respiratory chain were up regulated. It is thought that low level light therapy stimulates cell growth by influencing both directly and indirectly related to DNA synthesis and repair and cell metabolism. Stem cells are finicky enough. Anything we can do to nudge them along is so important. There is definitely more to come on this subject. Thanks Dr. P

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