Low-power laser irradiation improves histomorphometrical parameters and bone matrix organization during tibia wound healing in rats
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The influence of daily energy doses of 0.03, 0.3 and 0.9 J of He-Ne laser irradiation on the repair of surgically produced tibia damage was investigated in Wistar rats. Laser treatment was initiated 24 h after the trauma and continued daily for 7 or 14 days in two groups of nine rats (n=3 per laser dose and period). Two control groups (n=9 each) with injured tibiae were used. The course of healing was monitored using morphometrical analysis of the trabecular area. The organization of collagen fibers in the bone matrix and the histology of the tissue were evaluated using Picrosirius-polarization method and Masson's trichrome. After 7 days, there was a significant increase in the area of neoformed trabeculae in tibiae irradiated with 0.3 and 0.9 J compared to the controls. At a daily dose of 0.9 J (15 min of irradiation per day) the 7-day group showed a significant increase in trabecular bone growth compared to the 14-day group. However, the laser irradiation at the daily dose of 0.3 J produced no significant decrease in the trabecular area of the 14-day group compared to the 7-day group, but there was significant increase in the trabecular area of the 15-day controls compared to the 8-day controls. Irradiation increased the number of hypertrophic osteoclasts compared to non-irradiated injured tibiae (controls) on days 8 and 15. The Picrosirius-polarization method revealed bands of parallel collagen fibers (parallel-fibered bone) at the repair site of 14-day-irradiated tibiae, regardless of the dose. This organization improved when compared to 7-day-irradiated tibiae and control tibiae. These results show that low-level laser therapy stimulated the growth of the trabecular area and the concomitant invasion of osteoclasts during the first week, and hastened the organization of matrix collagen (parallel alignment of the fibers) in a second phase not seen in control, non-irradiated tibiae at the same period. The active osteoclasts that invaded the regenerating site were probably responsible for the decrease in trabecular area by the fourteenth day of irradiation. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.