Ulm – MENA Herald: Five years after the invention of the ruby laser (1960) Hungarian professor Endre Mester used its red light to heal wounds. Today, biological applications of red laser light include, but are not restricted to, accelerated wound healing, innovative cancer treatments, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, hair growth stimulation, and possibly anti-aging as recently reported in Biology Letters.1
Initially, scientists did not understand the mechanism by which the red laser light has beneficial effects in cells as different as muscle cells, brain cells and skin cells. Later, it was found that irradiation with red laser light increased ATP production in cells. ATP is the cell’s energy currency and is used for various functions. To explain the laser effect, people assumed that the light is absorbed by an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase.
For Professor Horst-Dieter Försterling of Philipps-University Marburg (Germany) “it is a mystery why people could have the idea that cytochrome c oxidase is responsible for the light effect on ATP production”. Now scientists at Ulm University (Germany) showed that exactly the same light which is boosting cellular ATP levels is also involved in reducing the thickness of the intermediate water acting as a lubricant between proximal surfaces.
The novel finding was communicated in an article published in the respected journal Nature Scientific Reports2 and fits perfectly to another discovery: In 1961, Peter Mitchell (Nobel Prize in Chemistry) proposed the idea of the mitochondrial rotary motor, a very small motor which is turning 9000 times per minute to produce the ATP that fuels the cell. In analogy to the observation that red laser light reduced the thickness of the intermediate water between proximal surfaces, the Ulm team proposed the idea that irradiation of cells with red laser light reduces the thickness of the water within and around the rotary motor, thereby facilitating its normal (or improved) rotation.
The finding of the Ulm team promises to change our thinking regarding the medical use of lasers and to extend applications to new fields and horizons, for instance to improve the performance of sperm cells. Professor Richard Rawlins of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, a pioneer assisted reproductive technology (ART) commented: “Using laser light to stimulate sperm cells via the ATP pathway is really a very novel finding to say the least. Laser exposure might well improve the odds of success going forward.”