Compartment responses after thoracic irradiation of mice: Strain differences

Department of Atomic Science, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.
International Journal of Radiation OncologyBiologyPhysics (Impact Factor: 4.26). 08/2005; 62(3):862-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2005.02.037
Source: PubMed


To examine and compare the molecular and cellular processes leading to radiation fibrosis and pneumonitis in C57BL/6J and C3H/HeN mice.
At indicated times after various doses of thoracic irradiation, the cell populations obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage of C57BL/6J mice were differentially analyzed by cytology and assessed by RNase protection (RPA) assay for levels of cytokines and related genes. The molecular responses in bronchial alveolar lavage (BAL) populations were compared with those in whole lung of C57BL/6J mice and with those of C3H/HeN mice. The former strain develops late radiation fibrosis, whereas the latter develop subacute radiation pneumonitis.
In C57BL/6J mice, a decrease in the total number of BAL cells was found 1 week after 6, 12, or 20 Gy thoracic irradiation with a subsequent dose-dependent increase up to 6 months. After 12 and 20 Gy, large, foamy macrophages and multinucleated cells became evident in BAL at 3 weeks, only to disappear at 4 months and reappear at 6 months. This biphasic response was mirrored by changes expression of mRNA for proinflammatory cytokines and the Mac-1 macrophage-associated antigen. As with BAL, whole lung tissue also showed biphasic cytokine and Mac-1 mRNA responses, but there were striking temporal differences between the two compartments, with changes in whole lung tissue correlating better than BAL with the onset of fibrosis in this strain. The radiation-induced proinflammatory mRNA responses had strain-dependent and strain-independent components. Thoracic irradiation of C3H/HeN induced similar increases in tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1alpha/beta, and interferon (IFN)-gamma mRNA expression in lung as it did in C57BL/6J mice during the "presymptom" phase at 1-2 months. However, immediately preceding and during the pneumonitic time period at 3-4 months, TNF-alpha and IL-1alpha/beta mRNAs were highly upregulated in C3H/HeN mice, which develop pneumonitis, but not in C57BL/6J mice, which do not. At the onset of radiation fibrosis in C57BL/6J mice (5-6 months), irradiated lungs had increased levels of IL-1alpha/beta and IFN-gamma mRNA expression, but the TNF-alpha response was, notably, still muted.
The major molecular and cellular events in lungs of C57BL/6J and C3H/HeN mice, which develop late fibrosis and subacute pneumonitis after thoracic irradiation respectively, take place within the interstitium and are not reflected within BAL populations. The initial proinflammatory responses are similar in the two strains, but later responses reflect the latent time to lesion development. TNF-alpha expression at 3-4 months may be important in radiation-induced pneumonitis, and its downregulation is important in avoiding this radiation-induced complication.

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    • "Thus, lymphocyte influx correlated to the time of radiation-induced pneumonitis defined by maximum impairment of lung function in our earlier investigations [6,28]. Our present data corroborate earlier findings from rodent models of thorax irradiation showing that lymphocyte numbers increase after an initial early depletion by 3 to 6 weeks post-irradiation [7,17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphocyte infiltration is a common feature of radiation-induced pneumonitis and fibrosis, but their contribution to the pathogenic processes is still unclear. Here, we addressed the impact of thorax irradiation on the T cell compartment with a focus on immunosuppressive regulatory T cells (Treg). C57BL/6 wild type mice (WT) received anesthesia only (sham controls, 0Gy) or were exposed to a single dose of whole thorax irradiation (15 Gy). Immune cells from lung tissue, spleen, and cervical lymph nodes were collected 10 to 84 days post-irradiation and phenotypically characterized by flow cytometry. Whole thorax irradiation provoked an increased influx of CD3+ T cells at 42 and 84 days post-irradiation. In contrast, local irradiation caused a sustained reduction in CD3+ T cells in peripheral lymphoid tissues. Interestingly, we observed a significant local and systemic increase in the fraction of CD4+ T cells expressing the transcription factor forkhead box P3 (FoxP3), the phenotypic marker for murine Treg, at day 21 post-irradiation. The accumulation of Treg was associated with increased levels of T cells expressing surface proteins characteristic for recruitment and immunosuppressive activity, e.g. CD103, CTLA-4 and CD73. Importantly, Treg isolated at this time point were able to suppress CD4+ effector T cells to a similar extent as Treg isolated from control mice. The response of the adaptive immune system to whole thorax irradiation is characterised by local immunoactivation and systemic immunosuppression. The transient accumulation of immunosuppressive CD4+ FoxP3+ Treg may be required to protect the lung against excessive inflammation-induced tissue damage. Further investigations shall define the mechanisms underlying the accumulation of Treg and their role for the pathogenesis of radiation-induced lung disease.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Radiation Oncology
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    • "TGF-β1 is also produced by lymphocytes [59]. Interestingly, irradiation triggers the formation of lipid-loaded macrophages and endothelial cells, which may imply a more general disturbance of lipid metabolism in the irradiated lung [60, 61]. Although the actions of macrophages may not account for the entirety of radiation-induced pulmonary injury, they play an important regulatory role during this process [62]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Radiation-induced lung fibrosis (RILF) is a severe side effect of radiotherapy in lung cancer patients that presents as a progressive pulmonary injury combined with chronic inflammation and exaggerated organ repair. RILF is a major barrier to improving the cure rate and well-being of lung cancer patients because it limits the radiation dose that is required to effectively kill tumor cells and diminishes normal lung function. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, accumulating evidence suggests that various cells, cytokines and regulatory molecules are involved in the tissue reorganization and immune response modulation that occur in RILF. In this review, we will summarize the general symptoms, diagnostics, and current understanding of the cells and molecular factors that are linked to the signaling networks implicated in RILF. Potential approaches for the treatment of RILF will also be discussed. Elucidating the key molecular mediators that initiate and control the extent of RILF in response to therapeutic radiation may reveal additional targets for RILF treatment to significantly improve the efficacy of radiotherapy for lung cancer patients.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Current drug targets
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    • "a dose rate of 0.725 Gy per minute (Chiang et al, 2005). Lead shielding was used to protect all parts of the body except the thoracic region. "
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    ABSTRACT: Alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) participate in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis, producing pro-inflammatory mediators and undergoing epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Herein, we demonstrated the critical role of Forkhead Box M1 (Foxm1) transcription factor in radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Foxm1 was induced in AECs following lung irradiation. Transgenic expression of an activated Foxm1 transcript in AECs enhanced radiation-induced pneumonitis and pulmonary fibrosis, and increased the expression of IL-1β, Ccl2, Cxcl5, Snail1, Zeb1, Zeb2 and Foxf1. Conditional deletion of Foxm1 from respiratory epithelial cells decreased radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis and prevented the increase in EMT-associated gene expression. siRNA-mediated inhibition of Foxm1 prevented TGF-β-induced EMT in vitro. Foxm1 bound to and increased promoter activity of the Snail1 gene, a critical transcriptional regulator of EMT. Expression of Snail1 restored TGF-β-induced loss of E-cadherin in Foxm1-deficient cells in vitro. Lineage-tracing studies demonstrated that Foxm1 increased EMT during radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis in vivo. Foxm1 is required for radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis by enhancing the expression of genes critical for lung inflammation and EMT.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · The EMBO Journal
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