This study was designed to determine the in vitro angiogenic ability of far-infrared (FIR) radiation in the skin-derived cultured human microvascular endothelial cells and to elucidate the role of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in this process. The results revealed that FIR radiation from a WS(TM) TY301 FIR emitter activated p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), but not Akt or c-Jun N-terminal protein kinases (JNK), and significantly promoted angiogenesis by increasing tube formation in Matrigel and the migration of cells across an eight micron polyester filter. The addition of 50 μM PD98059, a MEK inhibitor, significantly inhibited the activation of ERK and the enhanced angiogenesis; in contrast, the inhibition of p38 phosphorylation did not inhibit the enhanced angiogenesis. After FIR radiation, there was no increase in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms (VEGF-A, -B, -C and -D) mRNA and VEGF protein, no increase phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) detected using Western blotting, and no increase in NO production detected using flow cytometry in cells pre-incubated with the cell-permeable NO-binding dye diluted 4-amino-5-methylamino-2', 7'-difluorofluorescein diacetate (DAF-FM DA). This study revealed that FIR radiation possesses in vitro angiogenic activity via the activation of the MEK/ERK but not the VEGF/Akt/eNOS-dependent signaling pathways.
© 2010 The Authors. Photochemistry and Photobiology © 2010 The American Society of Photobiology.