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Original Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2021; 25(2): 167-175

Published online March 1, 2021

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Far-infrared rays enhance mitochondrial biogenesis and GLUT3 expression under low glucose conditions in rat skeletal muscle cells

Yelim Seo1, Young-Won Kim1, Donghee Lee1, Donghyeon Kim2, Kyoungseo Kim2, Taewoo Kim2, Changyeob Baek2, Yerim Lee2, Junhyeok Lee2, Hosung Lee2, Geonwoo Jang2, Wonyeong Jeong2, Junho Choi2, Doegeun Hwang2, Jung Soo Suh2, Sun-Woo Kim3 , Hyoung Kyu Kim3, Jin Han3, Hyoweon Bang1, Jung-Ha Kim4, Tong Zhou5,*, and Jae-Hong Ko1,*

Departments of 1Physiology and 2Medicine, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, 3Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, SMART Marine Therapeutics Center, Inje University, Busan 47392, 4Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University Hospital, Seoul 06973, Korea, 5Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA

Correspondence to:Jae-Hong Ko
E-mail: akdongyi01@cau.ac.kr
Tong Zhou
E-mail: tongz@med.unr.edu

Received: December 10, 2020; Revised: December 25, 2020; Accepted: December 27, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Far-infrared rays (FIR) are known to have various effects on atoms and molecular structures within cells owing to their radiation and vibration frequencies. The present study examined the effects of FIR on gene expression related to glucose transport through microarray analysis in rat skeletal muscle cells, as well as on mitochondrial biogenesis, at high and low glucose conditions. FIR were emitted from a bio-active material coated fabric (BMCF). L6 cells were treated with 30% BMCF for 24 h in medium containing 25 or 5.5 mM glucose, and changes in the expression of glucose transporter genes were determined. The expression of GLUT3 (Slc2a3) increased 2.0-fold (p < 0.05) under 5.5 mM glucose and 30% BMCF. In addition, mitochondrial oxygen consumption and membrane potential (ΔΨm) increased 1.5- and 3.4-fold (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001), respectively, but no significant change in expression of Pgc-1a, a regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, was observed in 24 h. To analyze the relationship between GLUT3 expression and mitochondrial biogenesis under FIR, GLUT3 was down-modulated by siRNA for 72 h. As a result, the ΔΨm of the GLUT3 siRNA-treated cells increased 3.0-fold (p < 0.001), whereas that of the control group increased 4.6-fold (p < 0.001). Moreover, Pgc-1a expression increased upon 30% BMCF treatment for 72 h; an effect that was more pronounced in the presence of GLUT3. These results suggest that FIR may hold therapeutic potential for improving glucose metabolism and mitochondrial function in metabolic diseases associated with insufficient glucose supply, such as type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: Glucose, Glucose transporter type 3, Infrared rays, Mitochondrial biogenesis, Radiation