Low-level laser treatment accelerated hair regrowth in a rat model of chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA)

Tongyu Cao Wikramanayake, Alexandra C. Villasante, Lucia M. Mauro, Keyvan Nouri, Lawrence A. Schachner, Carmen I. Perez, Joaquin J. Jimenez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is one of the most distressing side effects of antineoplastic chemotherapy for which there is no effective interventional approach. A low-level laser (LLL) device, the HairMax LaserComb®, has been cleared by the FDA to treat androgenetic alopecia. Its effects may be extended to other settings; we have demonstrated that LaserComb treatment induced hair regrowth in a mouse model for alopecia areata. In the current study, we tested whether LLL treatment could promote hair regrowth in a rat model for CIA. Chemotherapy agents cyclophosphamide, etoposide, or a combination of cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin were administered in young rats to induce alopecia, with or without LLL treatment. As expected, 7-10 days later, all the rats developed full body alopecia. However, rats receiving laser treatment regrew hair 5 days earlier than rats receiving chemotherapy alone or sham laser treatment (with the laser turned off). The accelerated hair regrowth in laser-treated rats was confirmed by histology. In addition, LLL treatment did not provide local protection to subcutaneously injected Shay chloroleukemic cells. Taken together, our results demonstrated that LLL treatment significantly accelerated hair regrowth after CIA without compromising the efficacy of chemotherapy in our rat model. Our results suggest that LLL should be explored for the treatment of CIA in clinical trials because LLL devices for home use (such as the HairMax LaserComb®) provide a user-friendly and noninvasive approach that could be translated to increased patient compliance and improved efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-706
Number of pages6
JournalLasers in medical science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Chemotherapy-induced alopecia
  • Hair follicle
  • Laser
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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