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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 838420, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of Laser Acupuncture on Disuse Osteoarthritis: An Ultrasound Biomicroscopic Study of Patellar Articular Cartilage in Rats

1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
2Institute of Medical Information, School of Biomedical Engineering, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
3Department of Hand Surgery, Tsinghua University, Yuquan Hospital, Beijing 100049, China
4Interdisciplinary Division of Biomedical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Received 20 April 2012; Accepted 16 June 2012

Academic Editor: Vitaly Napadow

Copyright © 2012 Qing Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To investigate the effect of laser acupuncture (LA) on disuse changes in articular cartilage using ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM), Eighteen rats were randomly divided into the control group (C), the tail-suspended group (T), and the tail-suspended with LA treatment group (L). During 28-day suspension period, group L were treated with LA at acupoints on the left hindlimb while group T had a sham treatment. Ultrasound roughness index (URI), integrated reflection coefficient (IRC), integrated backscatter coefficient (IBC), cartilage thickness, and ultrasonographic score (US) of articular cartilage at patella were measured by using an ultrasound biomicroscopy system (UBS). Compared with the group C, URI significantly () increased by 60.9% in group T, increased by 38.1% in group L. In addition, unloading induced a significant cartilage thinning () in group T, whereas cartilage thickness in group L was ?µm reaching the level of the control group (?µm). There was no significant difference in IRC, IBC, and US among the three groups. LA therapy could help to retain the quality of articular cartilage which was subjected to unloading. LA would be a simple and safe nonpharmacological countermeasure for unloading-induced osteoarthritis. The UBM system has potential to be a sensitive, specific tool for quantitative assessment of articular cartilage.