Ann Dermatol.  2022 Dec;34(6):401-411. 10.5021/ad.21.092.

Cutaneous Photorejuvenation of Light Emitting Diodes via the Melatonin Membrane Receptor Pathway

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Gwangju, Korea
  • 2Department of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju, Korea


Melatonin receptors are present in the human skin and retina. These receptors can be stimulated by light emitting diodes (LEDs) at specific wavelengths, thereby inducing cutaneous photorejuvenation. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear.
To evaluate the influence of LEDs at specific wavelengths on melatonin membrane receptor (MT1) and cutaneous photorejuvenation via the MT1 pathway in vitro.
Normal human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) were irradiated using LEDs at different wavelengths (410~940 nm) at a dose of 1 J/cm 2 . MT1 activity was evaluated after melatonin stimulation and LED irradiation. Thereafter, the expressions of collagen (COL) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), with and without luzindole (MT1/2 receptor antagonist), were investigated via semi-quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time PCR, western blotting, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
In HDFs, the MT1 mRNA and protein levels increased significantly in response to melatonin (dose, 50 nM) (p<0.01) and LED irradiation at 595, 630, 850, and 940 nm (p<0.01). LED irradiation up-regulated COL type I and down-regulated MMP-1. Compared to LED irradiation without luzindole, LED irradiation with luzindole produced no significant increase in COL type I mRNA and protein levels (p<0.01).
We found that LED irradiation induces collagen synthesis and MMP-1 inhibition in HDFs via MT1 activation. Additionally, multiple LED wavelengths (595, 630, 850, and 940 nm) stimulated MT1 in HDFs, unlike in the eyes, where only blue light induced plasma melatonin suppression. This suggests the possibility of the melatoninergic pathway in photorejuvenation.


Light emitting diode; Melatonin; Photorejuvenation
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