Photodynamic laser therapy for rheumatoid arthritis: Cell culture studies and animal experiments

C. Hendrich*, G. Hüttmann, C. Lehnert, H. Diddens, W. E. Siebert

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of arthroscopic techniques has improved the surgical therapy of rheumatoid arthritis. The additional application of the holmium:yttrium aluminum garnet (Ho:YAG) laser likewise holds great promise by providing complete hemorrhagic control. Unfortunately, a minimally invasive solution for use in smaller joints has not yet emerged. The present study describes the possible treatment of these joints by means of photodynamic laser therapy. Cell culture studies with human synovial fibroblasts obtained from patients with rheumatoid arthritis have demonstrated a cytotoxic effect after administration of Photosan-3 as a photosensitizer and subsequent laser irradiation at 630 nm. For the in vivo studies, IgG-induced arthritis in rabbits, which is histologically consistent with the proliferative phase of rheumatoid arthritis, was used as the animal model. The histologic picture following photodynamic laser therapy with Photosan-3 revealed complete synovial destruction which also extended to the border of the subjacent joint capsule. In contrast, bradytrophic structures, e.g. cartilage, menisci, and ligaments, remained unchanged at both the macroscopic and microscopic levels. Therefore, photodynamic laser therapy can be considered a new method in the surgical treatment of inflammatory disease of the synovial membrane. It has the advantage of being minimally invasive, while offering a high degree of efficacy and selectivity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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