Physical Exercise and Low-Level Laser Therapy

Physical Exercise and Low-Level Laser Therapy Systemic Effects on the Ankle Joint in an Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis Model


Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the systemic effects of stair climbing exercise, low-level laser therapy (LLLT), and the association of both treatments on pelvic member functionality and ankle joint histomorphometric aspects of Wistar rats submitted to experimental rheumatoid arthritis (RA) protocol.

Methods: Male Wistar rats were randomly distributed into the following 8 groups: control; control LLLT; control exercise; control LLLT and exercise; arthritis group; arthritis LLLT; arthritis exercise; and arthritis LLLT and exercise, with n = 8 for functional and n = 5 for histomorphometrical tests. The experimental RA was induced by complete Freund adjuvant injection in the knee joint cavity. Functionality was evaluated by proprioception and motor function using Sciatic Functional Index and maximum angle reached at an inclined plane. Histomorphometrical aspects were evaluated in the ankle joint after histological routine.

Results: The arthritis LLLT and exercise group had positive effects in Sciatic Functional Index (F [3.96] = 11.3, P < .001) and in inclined plane (F [3.4] = 36.1, P < .001). The arthritis exercise group presented a greater number of chondrocytes in the tibia (Wald [1; 6605.6] = 25.2, P < .001) and talus (Wald [1; 15958.6] = 19.8, P = .006) in relation to the other groups. The arthritis group morphology showed significant degenerative lesions as subintima with angiogenesis, inflammatory cells, flocculated articular cartilage, chondrocytes disorganization and pannus. Even with the higher chondrocytes number, the arthritis exercise group had morphological characteristics more similar to the control group.

Conclusion: Low-level laser therapy and exercise restored functionality, and exercise restored morphological aspects of tissues in experimentally induced RA in rats.