Thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger’s disease) is a rare, nonatherosclerotic segmental inflammatory vasculitis that commonly involves small- and medium-sized vessels. Ischemic tenderness impairs patient quality of life and places patients at high risk for amputation. The only definitive known treatment is smoking cessation. Far-infrared (FIR) therapy has shown promising effects on blood flow and healing, but its use in patients with Buerger’s disease has not been reported. A 31-year-old man with a 15-pack-year history of smoking, no drug abuse, and no other significant medical history, trauma, or family history diagnosed with thromboangiitis obliterans presented for care at the authors’ clinic. Claudication with severe tenderness of both legs and an ischemic ulcer over the right big toe were noted. After surgical debridement of the devitalized tissue, the patient received FIR therapy (5-25 µm, peak at 8.2 µm) applied 25 cm above the surface of the ischemic wound for 40 minutes, 3 times per week. The patient also tapered his smoking. The wound started to heal; granulation tissue was evident and, after 8 weeks, the right lower extremities gradually rewarmed from 24° C to 28° C as measured on the dorsal foot. His pain level decreased from 8 to 5. FIR therapy was continued until the patient stopped smoking (8 months). At the 10-month follow-up visit, the wound had healed completely and resting pain had improved. The results of this case study suggest additional research to explore the potential effects of FIR on patients with thromboangiitis obliterans is warranted.
The accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in diabetic patients induces vascular endothelial injury. Promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger protein (PLZF) is a transcription factor that can be activated by low-temperature far-infrared (FIR) irradiation to exert beneficial effects on the vascular endothelium. In the present study, we investigated the influence of FIR-induced PLZF activation on AGE-induced endothelial injury both in vitro and in vivo. FIR irradiation inhibited AGE-induced apoptosis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). PLZF activation increased the expression of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinases (PI3K), which are important kinases in the autophagic signaling pathway. FIR-induced PLZF activation led to autophagy in HUVEC, which was mediated through the upregulation of PI3K. Immunofluorescence staining showed that AGEs were engulfed by HUVECs and localized to lysosomes. FIR-induced autophagy promoted AGEs degradation in HUVECs. In nicotinamide/streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, FIR therapy reduced serum AGEs and AGEs deposition at the vascular endothelium. FIR therapy also reduced diabetes-induced inflammatory markers in the vascular endothelium and improved vascular endothelial function. These protective effects of FIR therapy were not found in PLZF-knockout mice. Our data suggest that FIR-induced PLZF activation in vascular endothelial cells protects the vascular endothelium in diabetic mice from AGE-induced injury.
BACKGROUND AND AIM:
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease that is increasing worldwide. Furthermore, it is associated with the deregulation of vascular-related functions, which can develop into major complications among DM patients. Endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) have the potential to bring about medical repairs because of their post-natal angiogenic activities; however, such activities are impaired by high glucose- (HG) and the DM-associated conditions. Far-infrared radiation (FIR) transfers energy as heat that is perceived by the thermoreceptors in human skin. Several studies have revealed that FIR improves vascular endothelial functioning and boost angiogenesis. FIR has been used as anti-inflammatory therapy and as a clinical treatment for peripheral circulation improvement. In addition to vascular repair, there is increasing evidence to show that FIR can be applied to a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disorders, hypertension and arthritis. Yet mechanism of action of FIR and the biomarkers that indicate FIR effects remain unclear. MicroRNA-134 (miR-134-5p) was identified by small RNA sequencing as being increased in high glucose (HG) treated dfECFCs (HG-dfECFCs). Highly expressed miR-134 was also validated in dmECFCs by RT-qPCR and it is associated with impaired angiogenic activities of ECFCs. The functioning of ECFCs is improved by FIR treatment and this occurs via a reduction in the level of miR-134 and an increase in the NRIP1 transcript, a direct target of miR-134. Using a mouse ischemic hindlimb model, the recovery of impaired blood flow in the presence of HG-dfECFCs was improved by FIR pretreatment and this enhanced functionality was decreased when there was miR-134 overexpression in the FIR pretreated HG-dfECFCs. In conclusion, our results reveal that the deregulation of miR-134 is involved in angiogenic defects found in DM patients. FIR treatment improves the angiogenic activity of HG-dfECFCs and dmECFCs and FIR has potential as a treatment for DM. Detection of miR-134 expression in FIR-treated ECFCs should help us to explore further the effectiveness of FIR therapy.