Research Projects

Post Doctoral researcher Dr. Willians Fernando Vieira
Study of photobiomodulation effects on the mitochondrial metabolism of dorsal root ganglia primary afferent neurons in a model of peripheral diabetic neuropathy2020 – now
About 425 million people around the world are diabetic, and approximately 60 % develop peripheral diabetic neuropathy (PDN), which is characterized by moderate to severe pain involving the upper and lower limbs. The painful symptoms appear after metabolic alterations in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) afferent neurons and in the Schwann cells from the peripheral nerves, causing it progressive degeneration. These metabolic alterations are characterized by a reduced oxygen consumption and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) reduction and accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), due to deleterious effects of the hyperglycemia over the mitochondrial metabolism. The metabolic overload and the oxidative stress caused by the hyperglycemia lead to an unbalanced gene and protein expression, disturbing signaling pathways linked to the mitochondrial activity, including the peroxiredoxin 5 (PRDX5), glutaredoxin 5 (GLRX5), HIF-1A, FoxO (PI3-K, Akt, mTOR), PKCµ, PKA, and AMPK. Despite efforts to make an early diagnosis and stop the progression of the PDN, there is no globally-available effective treatment, due to lack of full understanding of the disease pathophysiology. In this context, the photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) seems to be an interesting therapeutic resource, once its action mechanism is highly associated to the mitochondrial complexes activation. PBMT comprises endogenous chromophore-mediated athermic processes, involving photophysical and photochemical events at various biological scales. These processes result in therapeutic effects, including analgesia. Based on that, the aim of this project is to investigate the PBMT (904 nm) anti-hyperalgesic effect on PDN, focused on the mitochondrial metabolism of the DRG afferent neurons.
 Doctoral Researcher
Igor Rafael Correia Rocha
Study of the effects of the photobiostimulation on the Schwann cell mitochondrial metabolism in type 1 diabetes mellitus.
2018 – now
Primary cell damage from Schwann cells in hyperglycemia is largely neglected in terms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In contrast, the mechanisms by which low level laser therapy generates its promising effects is still the field of extensive research. It is proposed here, through the study of the interaction between photobiostimulation and mitochondrial energy metabolism in type 1 diabetes mellitus, to generate data that can elucidate the mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of diabetic peripheral neuropathy as well as try to clarify the mechanisms that measure the functional aspects between the interactions of light (laser) and the nervous tissue, especially in the process of repairing peripheral nerve fibers.
Master’s Researcher
Camilla Garcia de Oliveira
Effect of photobiomodulation on myositis: assessment of nociception, inflammation and muscle regeneration2019-now
Muscle injury occurs frequently, leading to impaired muscle function and pain, which triggers important functional limitations and causes an unfavorable impact on the quality of life of individuals. Currently, different complementary therapeutics have been studied in an attempt to improve the quality of life of patients affected by such kind of injuries. One of these therapies is the photobiomodulation (PBM), which can promote pain relief, reducing the inflammation, thus improving regeneration and tissue healing tissues. Thus, our main objective is to understand the mechanisms involved in PBM therapy using a musculoskeletal injury model. Furthermore, we analyzed the inflammatory infiltrate, incidence of macrophages and the quantification of proteins such as: transcription factor- Pax7 and myogenic regulatory factor 4 (MRF4), in the gastrocnemius muscle after the end of treatment.
(undergraduate) Research Mentor-ship
Nathalia Lopes Ferreira
The effect of photobiomodularion therapy in the pain,quality of life and mobility of patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Osteoathritis is a chronic-degenerative inflammatory articular disease known for its worn out of the cartilage joint, changes in soft tissues, bone widening, cartilage destruction, affecting peripheral and axonal joints, the knee joint being the most affected (KOA). The pain felt by KOA patients is not entirely understood yet and its traditional pharmacological treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and opioids are highly associated with serious side effects, being ineffective in most cases. In the last few years, many scientific data on PhotoBioModulation Therapy (PBMT) has been showing its effect in the treatment and control of inflammatory processes and pain syndromes. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of PBMT in the pain, quality of life and mobility of patients with KOA.