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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Oct 2022 - 28 Oct 2022

2022 Oct 22

J Pain

Green light exposure elicits anti-inflammation, endogenous opioid release and dampens synaptic potentiation to relieve post-surgical pain.


Martin LF, Cheng K, Washington SM, Denton M, Goel V, Khandekar M, Largent-Milnes TM, Patwardhan A, Ibrahim MM
J Pain. 2022 Oct 22.
PMID: 36283655.


Light therapy improves multiple conditions such as seasonal affective disorders, circadian rhythm dysregulations, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, little is known about its potential benefits in pain management. While current pharmacologic methods are effective in many cases, the associated side effects can limit their use. Non-pharmacological methods would minimize drug dependence, facilitating a reduction of the opioid burden. Green light therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain in humans and rodents. However, its underlying mechanisms remain incompletely defined. In this study, we demonstrate that green light exposure reduced post-surgical hypersensitivity in rats. Moreover, this therapy potentiated the antinociceptive effects of morphine and ibuprofen on mechanical allodynia in male rats. Importantly, in female rats, GLED potentiated the antinociceptive effects of morphine but did not affect that of ibuprofen. We showed that green light increases endogenous opioid levels while lessening synaptic plasticity and neuroinflammation. Importantly, this study reveals new insights into how light exposure can affect neuroinflammation and plasticity in both genders. Clinical translation of these results could provide patients with improved pain control and decrease opioid consumption. Given the noninvasive nature of green light, this innovative therapy would be readily implementable in hospitals. PERSPECTIVE: This study provides a potential additional therapy to decrease post-surgical pain. Given the safety, availability, and the efficacy of green light therapy, there is a significant potential for advancing the green light therapy to clinical trials and eventual translation to clinical settings.