Biological Modulation of Mouse RPE Cells in Response to Subthreshold Diode Micropulse Laser Treatment

Zhouyue Li, Yanping Song, Xiao Chen, Zhongshan Chen, Qin Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Many clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of subthreshold phototherapy with no visible damage in retinal vascular diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy. We aimed primarily to investigate the effect of subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM) treatment on mouse retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells. The expression of angiogenesis-modulating cytokines in response to SDM was also explored. The least toxic laser dose was selected by measuring cell viability with MTT assay and 5 % duty cycle (DC) was chosen for use in further experiments. RPE cells were treated with laser-induced radiation ranging from 0 to 400 mW for 24 h. The apoptotic rate of RPE cells was assessed by flow cytometry. Expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) were determined by Western Blotting and real-time PCR, respectively. After 24 h of laser irradiation, cell viability was reduced dose dependently and the effect was significant compared to the controls (P < 0.05). In addition, laser treatment with intensities of 100 and 200 mW with DC of 5 % produced no significant effect on cell viability and apoptosis as compared with the control group (P > 0.05). The protein and mRNA expressions of angiogenic stimulators (VEGF-A, TGF-β, and bFGF) were significantly down-regulated (P < 0.05), whereas those of the angiogenic inhibitor (PEDF) were up-regulated (P < 0.05). No significant difference was found between the cells treated with different intensities of laser radiation (P > 0.05). Our results showed that SDM treatment of the RPE cells suppressed the expression of choroid neovasculization-promoting cytokines and up-regulated the angiogenic inhibitor, PEDF without damaging the cells. Further investigation is needed to understand the mechanism and to optimize the use of SDM as a novel method of treatment for retinal vascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalCell biochemistry and biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 3 2015


  • Choroid neovascularization (CNV)
  • Retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE)
  • Retinal vascular disease
  • Subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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