Photobiomodulation Therapy Partially Restores Cartilage Integrity and Reduces Chronic Pain Behavior in a Rat Model of Osteoarthritis: Involvement of Spinal Glial Modulation.
Cartilage. 2019 Sep 30:1947603519876338. Epub 2019 Sep 30. PMID: 31569995
OBJECTIVE: Chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA) often leads to reduced function and engagement in activities of daily living. Current pharmacological treatments remain relatively ineffective. This study investigated the efficacy of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) on cartilage integrity and central pain biomarkers in adult male Wistar rats.
DESIGN: We evaluated the cartilage degradation and spinal cord sensitization using the monoiodoacetate (MIA) model of OA following 2 weeks of delayed PBMT treatment (i.e., 15 days post-MIA). Multiple behavioral tests and knee joint histology were used to assess deficits related to OA. Immunohistochemistry was performed to assess chronic pain sensitization in spinal cord dorsal horn regions. Furthermore, we analyzed the principal components related to pain-like behavior and cartilage integrity.
RESULTS: MIA induced chronic pain-like behavior with respective cartilage degradation. PBMT had no effects on overall locomotor activity, but positive effects on weight support (= 0.001; effect size [ES] = 1.01) and mechanical allodynia (= 0.032; ES = 0.51). Greater optical densitometry of PBMT-treated cartilage was evident in superficial layers (= 0.020; ES = 1.34), likely reflecting the increase of proteoglycan and chondrocyte contents. In addition, PBMT effects were associated to decreased contribution of spinal glial cells to pain-like behavior (= 0.001; ES = 0.38).
CONCLUSION: PBMT during the chronic phase of MIA-induced OA promoted cartilage recovery and reduced the progression or maintenance of spinal cord sensitization. Our data suggest a potential role of PBMT in reducing cartilage degradation and long-term central sensitization associated with chronic OA.