The effects of laser polarization on the efficacy of near-infrared low-level laser therapy for spinal cord injury (SCI) are presented. Rat spinal cords were injured with a weight-drop device, and the lesion sites were directly irradiated with a linearly polarized 808-nm diode laser positioned either perpendicular or parallel to the spine immediately after the injury and daily for five consecutive days. Functional recovery was assessed daily by an open-field test. Regardless of the polarization direction, functional scores of SCI rats that were treated with the 808-nm laser irradiation were significantly higher than those of SCI alone group (Group 1) from day 5 after injury. The locomotive function of SCI rats irradiated parallel to the spinal column (Group 3) was significantly improved from day 10 after injury, compared to SCI rats treated with the linear polarization perpendicular to the spinal column (Group 2). There were no significant differences in ATP contents in the injured tissue among the three groups. We speculate that the higher efficacy with parallel irradiation is attributable to the deeper light penetration into tissue with anisotropic scattering.
Ando, T., Sato, S., Kobayashi, H., Nawashiro, H., Ashida, H., Hamblin, M. R., & Obara, M. (2013). Low-level laser therapy for spinal cord injury in rats: effects of polarization. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 18(9), 098002. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.jbo.18.9.098002