The Cerebellum

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 22–32 | Cite as

Far-infrared Radiation Improves Motor Dysfunction and Neuropathology in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3 Mice

  • Shin-Wu Liu
  • Jui-Chih Chang
  • Sheng-Fei Chuang
  • Ko-Hung Liu
  • Wen-Ling Cheng
  • Hui-Ju Chang
  • Huei-Shin Chang
  • Ta-Tsung Lin
  • Ching-Liang Hsieh
  • Wei-Yong Lin
  • Mingli Hsieh
  • Shou-Jen KuoEmail author
  • Chin-San LiuEmail author
Original Paper


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) is a polyglutamine neurodegenerative disease resulting from the misfolding and accumulation of a pathogenic protein, causing cerebellar dysfunction, and this disease currently has no effective treatments. Far-infrared radiation (FIR) has been found to protect the viability of SCA3 cells by preventing mutant ataxin-3 protein aggregation and promoting autophagy. However, this possible treatment still lacks in vivo evidence. This study assessed the effect of FIR therapy on SCA3 in vivo by using a mouse model over 28 weeks. Control mice carried a healthy wild-type ATXN3 allele that had a polyglutamine tract with 15 CAG repeats (15Q), whereas SCA3 transgenic mice possessed an allele with a pathological polyglutamine tract with expanded 84 CAG (84Q) repeats. The results showed that the 84Q SCA3 mice displayed impaired motor coordination, balance abilities, and gait performance, along with the associated loss of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, compared with the normal 15Q controls; nevertheless, FIR treatment was sufficient to prevent those defects. FIR significantly improved performance in terms of maximal contact area, stride length, and base support in the forepaws, hindpaws, or both. Moreover, FIR treatment supported the survival of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum and promoted the autophagy, as reflected by the induction of autophagic markers, LC3II and Beclin-1, concomitant with the reduction of p62 and ataxin-3 accumulation in cerebellar Purkinje cells, which might partially contribute to the rescue mechanism. In summary, our results reveal that FIR confers therapeutic effects in an SCA3 transgenic animal model and therefore has considerable potential for future clinical use.


Far-infrared radiation Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 YAC transgenic mice Behavior Purkinje cells Autophagy 



We thank Dr. Chen Chang (Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica) for advice and assistance on preliminary experimental research.

Funding Information

This study was supported by the National Science Council (NSC 103-2314-B-371-005-; MOST 103-2320-B-371-001-).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12311_2018_936_MOESM1_ESM.doc (74 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 74 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shin-Wu Liu
    • 1
  • Jui-Chih Chang
    • 1
  • Sheng-Fei Chuang
    • 1
  • Ko-Hung Liu
    • 1
  • Wen-Ling Cheng
    • 1
  • Hui-Ju Chang
    • 1
  • Huei-Shin Chang
    • 1
  • Ta-Tsung Lin
    • 1
  • Ching-Liang Hsieh
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wei-Yong Lin
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mingli Hsieh
    • 5
  • Shou-Jen Kuo
    • 6
    Email author
  • Chin-San Liu
    • 1
    • 3
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Vascular and Genomic CenterChanghua Christian HospitalChanghuaTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Chinese MedicineChina Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  3. 3.School of Chinese Medicine, Graduate Institute of Chinese Medicine, Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, Research Center for Chinese Medicine and AcupunctureChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  4. 4.Departments of Medical Research, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dermatology, and UrologyChina Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Life ScienceTunghai UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  6. 6.Department of SurgeryChanghua Christian HospitalChanghuaTaiwan
  7. 7.Department of NeurologyChanghua Christian HospitalChanghuaTaiwan

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