Water-filtered near-infrared influences collagen synthesis of keloid-fibroblasts in contrast to normal foreskin fibroblasts

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2016 Oct:163:194-202. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2016.08.020. Epub 2016 Aug 15.


Hypertrophic scar development is associated to impaired wound healing, imbalanced fibroblast proliferation and extracellular matrix synthesis. Stigmatization, physical restrictions and high recurrence rates are only some aspects that illustrate the severe influence impaired wound healing can have on patients' life. The treatment of hypertrophic scars especially keloids is still a challenge. In recent years water-filtered near-infrared irradiation (wIRA) composed of near-infrared (NIR) and a thermal component is applied for an increasing penal of clinical purposes. It is described to beneficially influence e.g. wound healing. But discrimination between the thermal and the NIR dependent components of these effects has not been conclusively elucidated. Aim of our study was therefore to investigate the influence of the light fraction on the thermal impact of wIRA irradiation in dermal cells. We concentrated our analysis on morphological properties and collagen synthesis. Foreskin fibroblasts and the keloid fibroblast cell line KF111 were exposed to temperatures between 37°C and 46°C with or without additional irradiation with 360J/cm(2) NIR. Our results show that viability was not influenced by irradiation. Independent of the analysed fibroblast species temperature dependent occurrence of spheric cells could be observed. These morphological changes were clearly counteracted by additional light exposure. Convective heat reduced collagen type I synthesis in both cell species depending on the applied temperature. Co-treatment with NIR significantly reversed this effect in keloid fibroblast cultures treated at 46°C whereas no difference could be observed in the foreskin fibroblasts. The observed influence on collagen type I synthesis was associated to a temperature dependent TGF-β1 secretion reduction. Co-stimulation of keloid cultures with NIR at 46°C completely abolished the temperature dependent TGF-β1 secretion reduction. In foreskin fibroblast cultures co-treatment with NIR had no additional influence on TGF-β1 secretion. The observed influence of convective heat treatment with and without NIR on keloid and foreskin fibroblasts indicates a possible clinical application that has to be evaluated in further basic research and clinical studies in context of hypertrophic scar treatment.

Keywords: Collagen; Fibroblast; Hyperthermia; Keloid; Near-infrared; Water-filtered near-infrared.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Collagen Type I / biosynthesis*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects*
  • Foreskin / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infrared Rays / therapeutic use*
  • Keloid / pathology*
  • Keloid / therapy
  • Male
  • Temperature
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / biosynthesis
  • Water*


  • Collagen Type I
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Water