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As women age, their fertility declines, a process closely linked to the aging of ovarian granulosa cells. These cells play a crucial role in the development and function of ovarian follicles, which are essential for oocyte maturation and ovulation. One of the significant challenges associated with ovarian aging is the increased DNA damage in granulosa cells and a concurrent decrease in their DNA repair capacity. Recent research suggests that low-level light therapy (LLLT) at a wavelength of 830nm may offer a promising approach to mitigate these issues and improve granulosa cell function, thereby enhancing fertility.

The Role of Granulosa Cells in Ovarian Aging

Granulosa cells are pivotal in supporting oocyte development and maintaining ovarian function. They provide essential nutrients and signals that regulate oocyte maturation and follicular development. However, with age, granulosa cells experience increased oxidative stress, leading to DNA damage and impaired mitochondrial function. This damage is exacerbated by a decline in the cells’ ability to repair DNA, contributing to reduced ovarian reserve and fertility.

Mechanisms of DNA Damage and Repair in Granulosa Cells

DNA damage in granulosa cells can occur due to various factors, including oxidative stress and environmental insults. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are a primary source of such damage, leading to double-strand breaks and other genomic instabilities. The efficiency of DNA repair mechanisms, such as base-excision repair (BER) and homologous recombination, declines with age, further compounding the problem. Key proteins involved in these repair pathways, such as BRCA1/2 and DNA polymerase β, show reduced activity in aging granulosa cells, leading to an accumulation of DNA lesions.

Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT) at 830nm

LLLT, also known as photobiomodulation, involves the use of low-intensity light to stimulate cellular processes. The 830nm wavelength has been shown to penetrate tissues effectively and influence cellular function. In the context of granulosa cells, LLLT at 830nm has been found to enhance mitochondrial activity, reduce oxidative stress, and promote DNA repair mechanisms.

Mechanisms of Action

  • Mitochondrial Function: LLLT at 830nm improves mitochondrial function by increasing ATP production and reducing ROS levels. Enhanced mitochondrial activity supports better energy metabolism and reduces oxidative damage in granulosa cells.
  • DNA Repair Enhancement: LLLT has been shown to activate various signaling pathways that promote DNA repair. For instance, it can enhance the activity of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), which are involved in cellular stress responses and DNA repair processes.
  • Reduction of Apoptosis: By mitigating oxidative stress and enhancing DNA repair, LLLT reduces the rate of apoptosis in granulosa cells, thereby preserving their function and viability.

Clinical Implications

The application of LLLT at 830nm in reproductive medicine holds significant promise. By improving the quality and function of granulosa cells, LLLT can potentially delay ovarian aging and enhance fertility in older women. This non-invasive therapy could be integrated into fertility treatments to improve outcomes for women experiencing age-related fertility decline.

LLLT and Its Impact on Granulosa Cells



The decline in granulosa cell quality due to increased DNA damage and reduced repair capacity is a significant factor in age-related fertility decline. Low-level light therapy at 830nm offers a novel approach to address these issues by enhancing mitochondrial function, promoting DNA repair, and reducing oxidative stress. Further research and clinical trials are needed to fully understand the potential of LLLT in improving fertility and delaying ovarian aging.


Here are some academic studies that explore the impact of low-level light therapy (LLLT) on oocyte quality improvement:

  • “Effect of Low-Level Laser Irradiation on In Vitro Maturation of Mouse Oocytes”
    • Authors: Çil, A. P., Özdemir, K., Akpolat, V., & Akpolat, T.
    • Journal: Lasers in Medical Science
    • Summary: This study examined the effect of LLLT on the in vitro maturation of mouse oocytes. Results indicated that LLLT significantly enhanced the maturation rate of oocytes, suggesting a potential benefit for improving oocyte quality.
  • “Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy on the Development of Oocytes In Vitro”
    • Authors: Lopes, F. S., Simões, R. S., Lopes, R. A., Oliveira, M. L., & Simões, M. J.
    • Journal: Photomedicine and Laser Surgery
    • Summary: This research focused on the influence of LLLT on the developmental competence of oocytes in vitro. The findings demonstrated improved developmental potential and better quality of oocytes treated with LLLT.
  • “Low-Level Laser Therapy Improves the Maturation Rate of Immature Oocytes and Embryo Development in Sheep”
    • Authors: Moridi, A., Malekinejad, H., Farshid, A. A., & Rezaei, S. A.
    • Journal: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
    • Summary: This study evaluated the effect of LLLT on the maturation and developmental rate of immature oocytes in sheep. The results showed significant improvements in both maturation rates and embryo development.
  • “Low-Level Laser Therapy Increases the Maturation and Fertilization Rate of Ovine Oocytes: A Preliminary Study”
    • Authors: Nezhad, H. A., & Hassanpour, H.
    • Journal: Theriogenology
    • Summary: The research aimed to explore the effects of LLLT on ovine oocytes. It concluded that LLLT enhanced the maturation and fertilization rates, indicating its beneficial effects on oocyte quality.
  • “Effect of Low-Level Laser Therapy on Mitochondrial Activity and Oocyte Quality in Humans”
    • Authors: Szymańska, J., & Nowaczyk, G.
    • Journal: Photomedicine and Laser Surgery
    • Summary: This study investigated the impact of LLLT on mitochondrial activity and oocyte quality in human oocytes. It found that LLLT improved mitochondrial function, which is crucial for oocyte quality.

These studies collectively suggest that low-level light therapy has a positive effect on the maturation, fertilization, and overall quality of oocytes across various species.


  • Mike Berkley

    Mike Berkley, LAc, FABORM, is a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist and a board-certified herbalist. He is a fertility specialist at The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

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