The Molecular Mechanisms of Action of Photobiomodulation Against Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Systematic Review

Document Type


Publication Title

Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology


Neurodegenerative diseases might be slow but relentless, as we continue to fail in treating or delaying their progression. Given the complexity in the pathogenesis of these diseases, a broad-acting approach like photobiomodulation can prove promising. Photobiomodulation (PBM) uses red and infrared light for therapeutic benefits, working by stimulating growth and proliferation. The implications of photobiomodulation have been studied in several neurodegenerative disease models. It has been shown to improve cell survival, decrease apoptosis, alleviate oxidative stress, suppress inflammation, and rescue mitochondrial function. In in vivo models, it has reportedly preserved motor and cognitive skills. Beyond mitochondrial stimulation, the molecular mechanisms by which photobiomodulation protects against neurodegeneration have not been very well studied. This review has systematically been undertaken to study the effects of photobiomodulation at a molecular level and identify the different biochemical pathways and molecular changes in the process. The data showed the involvement of pathways like extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and protein kinase B (Akt). In addition, the expression of several genes and proteins playing different roles in the disease mechanisms was found to be influenced by PBM, such as neurotrophic factors and secretases. Studying the literature indicated that PBM can be translated to a potential therapeutic tool, acting through a spectrum of mechanisms that work together to decelerate disease progression in the organism, which is difficult to achieve through pharmacological interventions.



Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.