OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to demonstrate the effect of low-level light therapy (LLLT) in an acute colitis model in mice. BACKGROUND DATA Low-level light therapy (LLLT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for various inflammatory processes such as oral mucositis and diabetic foot ulcers. METHODS Colitis was induced by dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in mice in four blinded controlled studies (validation of model, efficacy study, and two studies for evaluation of optimal dose). LLLT was applied to the colon utilizing a small diameter endoscope with an LED-based light source in several wavelengths (440, 660, and 850 nm at 1 J/cm(2)) and then 850 nm at several doses (1, 0.5, 0.25, and 0.1 J/cm(2)). LLLT was initiated 1 day prior to induction of colitis and went on for the 6 day induction period as well as for the following 3-10 days. Dose was controlled by changing exposure time. Disease activity was scored endoscopically and by histopathological assessment. RESULTS Statistically significant improvement in disease severity was observed in the treatment groups compared with the control groups. The three wavelengths used demonstrated efficacy, and a clear dose-response curve was observed for one of the wavelengths (850 nm). On day 11, colonoscopic scoring in the sham-treated mice increased from 7.9±1.3 to 12.2±2.2, while activity in all treated groups remained stable. CONCLUSIONS Photobiostimulation with LLLT has a significant positive effect on disease progression in mice with DSS colitis.