Objective: Survival of arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) in hemodialysis patients is associated with both far infrared (FIR) therapy and length polymorphisms of the heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) promoter. In this study, we evaluated whether there is an interaction between FIR radiation and HO-1 in regulating vascular inflammation.
Methods and results: Treatment of cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (ECs) with FIR radiation stimulated HO-1 protein, mRNA, and promoter activity. HO-1 induction was dependent on the activation of the antioxidant responsive element/NF-E2-related factor-2 complex, and was likely a consequence of heat stress. FIR radiation also inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-mediated expression of E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, interleukin-8, and the cytokine-mediated adhesion of monocytes to ECs. The antiinflammatory action of FIR was mimicked by bilirubin, and was reversed by the HO inhibitor, tin protoporphyrin-IX, or by the selective knockdown of HO-1. Finally, the antiinflammatory effect of FIR was also observed in patients undergoing hemodialysis.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that FIR therapy exerts a potent antiinflammatory effect via the induction of HO-1. The ability of FIR therapy to inhibit inflammation may play a critical role in preserving blood flow and patency of AVFs in hemodialysis patients.