Is heat the new NSAID?
Thermal therapies were part of most ancient systems of medicine and their use is reemerging. New evidence has captured the interest in the use of heat for its ability to sensitize aberrant cells to radiation injury, to provide costimulatory signals to boost immunocompetence, to precondition tissue in defense against various endogenous injury, and to downregulate pro-inflammatory genes. Copious studies have investigated the modulation of both local and systemic inflammation by exogenous, local, or systemic heat applications, and these modalities should reclaim their place in the physical medicine shack of available therapeutic tools. The induction of heat stress markedly elevates the in-tissue expression of many heat shock proteins. These are stress proteins comprising the superfamily of molecular chaperons found in most tissues. Heat shock proteins are highly protective eliciting defended phenotypes against several injurious subcellular stresses. Inflammation is powerfully modulated by the heat shock response. Heat shock response includes the over-expression of several heat shock protein which in turn mediate the expression of factors such as NFkB. The HSR leads to NFkB inhibition by regulating downstream and upstream pro-inflammatory signals(1). In this presentation we review the biology of thermal stresses, the current evidence substantiating the uses of heat as an adjunct therapy in several pathological processes with a focus on inflammation.
1. Heat Shock Proteins: Potent Mediators of Inflammation and Immunity: Potentent mediators of inflammation...