Previous studies showed a reduction of C. trachomatis infectivity after irradiation with water filtered infrared A alone (wIRA) or in combination with visible light (wIRA/VIS).
In this study, we aimed to gain further insight into the working mechanism of wIRA/VIS by analyzing cytokine and chemokine levels of infected and non-infected HeLa cells following triple dose irradiation at 24, 36 and 40 hours post infection. Subsequently, we examined the influence of cytokines on irradiation and chlamydial infection using a cytokine/chemokine inhibitor (Azelastine) and by IL-6 and IL-8 gene silencing.
A triple dose irradiation significantly reduced chlamydial infectivity in HeLa cells without inducing the chlamydial stress response. The reducing effect was present regardless of the addition of cycloheximide (CHX), a host protein synthesis inhibitor. Chlamydial infection, wIRA/VIS treatment and the combination of both revealed a similar release pattern of a subset of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, RANTES, Serpin E1). The addition of Azelastine induced the chlamydial stress response in non-irradiated samples. This effect was even more pronounced in wIRA/VIS-treated conditions. Silencing of IL-6 and IL-8 resulted in a lower chlamydial infectivity. However, wIRA/VIS treatment of infected and silenced cells reduced the chlamydial infectivity similar to wIRA/VIS treated control cells. Further studies are needed to elucidate the working mechanism of wIRA/VIS.