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The events of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath increased awareness of the need to develop medical countermeasures (MCMs) to treat potential health consequences of a radiation accident or deliberate attack. The medical effects of lethal exposures to ionizing radiation have been well described and affect multiple organ systems. To date, much of the research to develop treatments for mitigation of radiation-induced hematopoietic damage has focused on amelioration of radiation-induced neutropenia, which has long been considered to be the primary factor in determining survival after an unintentional radiation exposure. Consistent with historical data, recent studies have highlighted the role that radiation-induced thrombocytopenia plays in radiation mortality, yet development of MCMs to mitigate radiation damage to the megakaryocyte lineage has lagged behind anti-neutropenia approaches. To address this gap and to foster research in the area of platelet regeneration after radiation exposure, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) sponsored a workshop on March 22–23, 2010 to encourage collaborations between NIAID program awardees and companies developing pro-platelet approaches. NIAID also organized an informal, open discussion between academic investigators, product development contractors, and representatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other relevant government agencies about drug development toward FDA licensure of products for an acute radiation syndrome indication. Specific emphasis was placed on the challenges of product licensure for radiation/nuclear MCMs using current FDA regulations (21 CFR Parts 314 and 601) and on the importance of animal efficacy model development, design of pivotal protocols, and standardization of irradiation and animal supportive care.
Hematopoietic processes, especially megakaryocytopoiesis and thrombopoiesis, are highly sensitive to high-linear energy transfer (LET) radiations such as heavy-ion beams that have greater biological effects than low-LET radiation. This study examined the terminal maturation of megakaryocytes and platelet production derived from hematopoietic stem cells irradiated with heavy-ion beams. CD34 cells derived from human placental/umbilical cord blood were exposed to monoenergetic carbon-ion beams (LET = 50 keV/µm) and then cultured in a serum-free medium supplemented with thrombopoietin and interleukin-3. There was no significant difference in megakaryocyte-specific markers between nonirradiated control and irradiated cells. Expression of Tie-2, a receptor that acts in early hematopoiesis, showed a significant 1.31-fold increase after 2 Gy irradiation compared to control cells on day 7. There was a significant increase in Tie-2 mRNA expression. In addition, the expression of other mRNAs, such as PECAM1, SELP and CD44, was also significantly increased in cells irradiated with heavy-ion beams. However, the adherent function of platelets derived from the irradiated cells showed no difference from that in the controls. These results clarify that the functions of megakaryocytopoiesis and thrombopoiesis derived from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells irradiated with heavy-ion beams are similar to those in the unirradiated cells, although heavy-ion beams affect the expression of genes associated with cellular adhesion.
HSF1 is a transcription factor that plays a key role in the response to heat stress and was previously shown by us to also be essential for importation of p53 into the nucleus. Here we extend these studies and show that loss of HSF1 renders cells more sensitive to killing by ionizing radiation. Cells that lack a functional HSF1 were unable to arrest in G2 after exposure to ionizing radiation, suggesting that HSF1 activity was essential for activation of this cell cycle checkpoint. In addition, cells with no HSF1 showed a reduced capacity to repair radiation-induced double-stranded DNA breaks. We found that in these cells 53BP1 did not accumulate at sites of DNA damage, suggesting that HSF1 was also essential for the functioning of this DNA damage mediator. Taken together our results indicate that HSF1 plays an important role in checkpoint activation and DNA repair and suggest that there is overlap between the heat stress response pathway and the pathway that responds to ionizing radiation.
To study the effects of low- and high-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation on break locations within a chromosome, we exposed human epithelial cells in vitro to 137Cs γ rays at both low and high dose rates, secondary neutrons at a low dose rate, and 600 MeV/u iron ions at a high dose rate. Breakpoints were identified using multicolor banding in situ hybridization (mBAND), which paints chromosome 3 in 23 different colored bands. For all four radiation scenarios, breakpoint distributions were found to be different from the predicted distribution based on band width. Detailed analysis of chromosome fragment ends involved in inter- or intrachromosomal exchanges revealed that the distributions of fragment ends participating in interchromosomal exchanges were similar between the two low-LET radiation dose rates and between the two high-LET radiation types, but the distributions were less similar between low- and high-LET radiations. For fragment ends participating in intrachromosomal exchanges, the distributions for all four radiation scenarios were similar, with clusters of breaks found in three regions. Analysis of the locations of the two fragment ends in chromosome 3 that joined to form an intrachromosomal exchange demonstrated that two breaks with a greater genomic separation can be more likely to rejoin than two closer breaks, indicating that chromatin folding can play an important role in the rejoining of chromosome breaks. Comparison of the breakpoint distributions to the distributions of genes indicated that the gene-rich regions do not necessarily contain more breaks. In general, breakpoint distributions depend on whether a chromosome fragment joins with another fragment in the same chromosome or with a fragment from a different chromosome.
In the North-Cotentin (Normandy, France), the marine environment is chronically exposed to liquid releases from the La Hague nuclear fuel recycling plant (Areva NC), resulting in a small increase in radioactivity compared to natural background. The transcriptional expression levels of stress genes were investigated in oysters exposed to ionizing radiation. Adult oysters were kept for 6 weeks in 60Co-labeled seawater (400 Bq liter−1), resulting in a total dose of 6.2 mGy. Transcriptional expression of target genes was monitored by reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Nine genes were selected for their sensitivity to ionizing radiation based on the literature and available DNA sequences. They included genes encoding chaperone proteins and genes involved in oxidative stress regulation, cell detoxification and cell cycle regulation. Of the nine genes of interest, metallothionein (MT) and multi-drug resistance (MDR) displayed significant overexpression in response to chronic exposure to an internal low dose. For comparison, oysters were acutely exposed to an external high dose for 100 min, resulting in 20 Gy, and the same target gene expression analysis was carried out. As in the case of chronic exposure to the low dose, MT and MDR displayed significant increases. The results suggest that the transcriptional expression levels of cell stress genes may be used as a biosensor of exposure of oysters to ionizing radiation, with a particular focus on the MT and MDR genes. However, the upregulation of these potential players in the cellular response to radiation-induced stress was not correlated with mortality or apparent morbidity. The possible role of these stress genes in the resistance of oysters to ionizing radiation is discussed.
Dose assessment after radiological disasters is imperative to decrease mortality through rationally directed medical intervention. Our goal was to identify biomarkers capable of qualitative (nonirradiated/irradiated) and/or quantitative (dose) assessment of radiation exposure. Using real-time quantitative PCR, biodosimetry genes were identified in blood samples from cancer patients undergoing total-body irradiation. Time- (5, 12, 23, 48 h) and dose- (0–8 Gy) dependent changes in gene expression were examined in C57BL/6 mice. A training set was used to derive weighted voting classification algorithms (nonirradiated/irradiated) and continuous regression (dose assessment) models that were tested in a separate validation set of mice. Of eight biodosimetry genes identified in cancer patients (ACTA2, BBC3, CCNG1, CDKN1A, GADD45A, MDK, SERPINE1, Tnfrsf10b), expression of BBC3, CCNG1, CDKN1A, SERPINE1 and Tnfrsf10b was significantly (P < 0.05) increased in irradiated mice. CCNG1 and CDKN1A expression segregated irradiated mice from controls with an accuracy, specificity and sensitivity of 96.3, 100.0 and 94.4%, respectively, at 48 h. Multiple linear regression analysis predicted doses for the 0-, 1-, 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-Gy treatment groups as 0.0 ± 0.2, 1.6 ± 1.0, 2.9 ± 1.4, 5.1 ± 2.0, 5.3 ± 0.7 and 10.5 ± 5.6 Gy, respectively. These results suggest that gene expression analysis could be incorporated into biodosimetry protocols for qualitative and quantitative assessment of radiation exposure.
We have previously reported data from a long-term carcinogenesis study indicating that dietary antioxidant supplements can suppress radiation-induced malignant lymphoma and harderian gland tumors induced by space radiations (specifically, 1 GeV/n iron ions or protons) in CBA/J mice. Two different antioxidant dietary supplements were used in these studies: a supplement containing a mixture of antioxidant agents [l-selenomethionine (SeM), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), ascorbic acid, co-enzyme Q10, α-lipoic acid and vitamin E succinate], termed the AOX supplement, and another supplement known as Bowman-Birk Inhibitor Concentrate (BBIC). In the present report, the results from the earlier analysis of the harderian gland data from the published long-term animal study have been combined with new data derived from the same long-term animal study. In the earlier analysis, harderian glands were removed from animals exhibiting abnormalities (e.g. visibly swollen areas) around the eyes at the time of euthanasia or death in the long-term animal study. Abnormalities around the eyes were usually due to the development of tumors in the harderian glands of these mice. The new data presented here focused on the histopathological results obtained from analyses of the harderian glands of mice that did not have visible abnormalities around the eyes at the time of necropsy in the long-term animal study. In this paper, the original published data and the new data have been combined to provide a more complete evaluation of the harderian glands from animals in the long-term carcinogenesis study, with all available harderian glands from the animals processed and prepared for histopathological evaluation. The results indicate that, although dietary antioxidant supplements suppressed harderian gland tumors in a statistically significant fashion when all glands were analyzed, the antioxidant diets were less effective at suppressing the incidence of all harderian gland tumors than they were at suppressing the incidence of large harderian gland tumors (>2 mm) observed at animal necropsy. These results suggest that the dietary antioxidant formulations had major suppressive effects in the later stages of radiation-induced carcinogenesis in vivo. It is hypothesized that the dietary antioxidant formulations prevented the early-stage neoplastic growths from progressing to fully developed, malignant tumors. In addition, the antioxidant dietary formulations were very effective at preventing the development of proton- or iron-ion-induced malignant tumors, because, in contrast to irradiated controls, no malignant tumors were observed in the irradiated animals maintained on either of the dietary antioxidant diets.
Blockers of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) ameliorate cognitive deficits and some aspects of brain injury after whole-brain irradiation. We investigated whether treatment with the angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist L-158,809 at a dose that protects cognitive function after fractionated whole-brain irradiation reduced radiation-induced neuroinflammation and changes in hippocampal neurogenesis, well-characterized effects that are associated with radiation-induced brain injury. Male F344 rats received L-158,809 before, during and after a single 10-Gy dose of radiation. Expression of cytokines, angiotensin II receptors and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 was evaluated by real-time PCR 24 h, 1 week and 12 weeks after irradiation. At the latter times, microglial density and proliferating and activated microglia were analyzed in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Cell proliferation and neurogenesis were also quantified in the dentate subgranular zone. L-158,809 treatment modestly increased mRNA expression for Ang II receptors and TNF-α but had no effect on radiation-induced effects on hippocampal microglia or neurogenesis. Thus, although L-158,809 ameliorates cognitive deficits after whole-brain irradiation, the drug did not mitigate the neuroinflammatory microglial response or rescue neurogenesis. Additional studies are required to elucidate other mechanisms of normal tissue injury that may be modulated by RAAS blockers.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of isoflurane on unstimulated and pilocarpine-stimulated parotid saliva secretion. Ten male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 350–400 g were randomized into two groups, and the saliva flow rate and lag phase were measured at two doses of isoflurane in a crossover study design. Increasing the isoflurane concentration from 1% to 2% was associated with a 19% decrease in saliva secretion rate, and the lag to saliva secretion was increased by 155%. To clarify whether the effect of isoflurane (1.5%) on the parotid flow varied with stimulus intensity, we measured the parotid flow induced by seven different doses of pilocarpine on sham-irradiated rats and rats irradiated with single doses of 15 Gy. A maximal pilocarpine response was obtained with 1.5 mg/kg in both irradiated and sham-irradiated rats; however, the parotid flow of the irradiated rats was 50% slower than that of the sham-irradiated rats. In conclusion, 1.5% isoflurane was found to be a good compromise between proper anesthesia and isoflurane-induced inhibition of saliva secretion. Pilocarpine induces saliva secretion in a dose-dependent matter, with supra-maximal stimulation achieved using 1.5 mg/kg.
Additional large animal models for the acute radiation syndrome (ARS) would facilitate countermeasure development. We demonstrate here that Gottingen minipigs develop hematopoietic ARS symptoms similar to those observed in canines, non-human primates (NHPs) and humans. Dosimetry for whole-body γ irradiation (0.6 Gy/min) was performed using electronic paramagnetic resonance (EPR) with alanine; National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-calibrated alanine pellets and water-filled Plexiglas phantoms were used. After irradiations of 1.6–2.0 Gy, blood pancytopenia was observed for several weeks, accompanied by the characteristic ARS stages: prodromal symptoms, latent period, illness and recovery or morbidity. Morbidity occurred between days 14 and 27, with a preliminary LD50/30 estimate between 1.7 and 1.9 Gy. The criterion of whether platelet counts were <200 × 103/µl 7 days postirradiation predicted whether animals would survive in 18 out of 20 cases. The degree of granulocytosis 3 h postirradiation was inversely correlated with survival. Animals euthanized based on preset morbidity criteria displayed signs of multi-organ dysfunction, including widespread internal hemorrhage and alterations in organ function reflected in blood chemistry. Circulating C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation, became elevated within hours after irradiation, subsided after several days, and increased again after 14 days. The results support further development of the Gottingen minipig as a model for ARS.
New epidemiology assessments of the life span study (LSS) of the atomic bomb survivors in Japan and of other exposed cohorts have been made by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, and the Radiation Research Effects Foundation in Japan. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses a 3% risk of exposure-induced death (REID) as a basis for setting age- and gender-specific dose limits for astronauts. NASA's dose limits originate from the report of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) in the year 2000 based on analysis of older epidemiology data. We compared the results of the recent analysis of the LSS to the earlier risk projections from the NCRP. Using tissue-specific, incidence-based risk transfer from the LSS data to a U.S. population to project REID values leads to higher risk and reduced dose limits for older astronauts (>40 years) compared to earlier models that were based on mortality risk transfer. Because astronauts and many other individuals should be considered as healthy workers, including never-smokers free of lifetime use of tobacco, we considered possible variations in risks and dose limits that would occur due to the reference population used for estimates. After adjusting cancer rates to remove smoking effects, radiation risks for lung and total cancer were estimated using a mixture model, with equal weights for additive and multiplicative transfer, to be 20% and 30% lower for males and females, respectively, for never-smokers compared to the average U.S. population. We recommend age- and gender-specific dose limits based on incidence-based risk transfer for never-smokers that could be used by NASA. Our analysis illustrates that gaining knowledge to improve transfer models, which entail knowledge of cancer initiation and promotion effects, could significantly reduce uncertainties in risk projections.
Studies of nuclear workers make it possible to directly quantify the risks associated with ionizing radiation exposure at low doses and low dose rates. Studies of the CEA (Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique) and AREVA Nuclear Cycle (AREVA NC) cohort, currently the most informative such group in France, describe the long-term risk to nuclear workers associated with external exposure. Our aim is to assess the risk of mortality from solid cancers among CEA and AREVA NC nuclear workers and its association with external radiation exposure. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated and internal Poisson regressions were conducted, controlling for the main confounding factors [sex, attained age, calendar period, company and socioeconomic status (SES)]. During the period 1968–2004, there were 2,035 solid cancers among the 36,769 CEA-AREVA NC workers. Cumulative external radiation exposure was assessed for the period 1950–2004, and the mean cumulative dose was 12.1 mSv. Mortality rates for all causes and all solid cancers were both significantly lower in this cohort than in the general population. A significant excess of deaths from pleural cancer, not associated with cumulative external dose, was observed, probably due to past asbestos exposure. We observed a significant excess of melanoma, also unassociated with dose. Although cumulative external dose was not associated with mortality from all solid cancers, the central estimated excess relative risk (ERR) per Sv of 0.46 for solid cancer mortality was higher than the 0.26 calculated for male Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb survivors 50 years or older and exposed at the age of 30 years or older. The modification of our results after stratification for SES demonstrates the importance of this characteristic in occupational studies, because it makes it possible to take class-based lifestyle differences into account, at least partly. These results show the great potential of a further joint international study of nuclear workers, which should improve knowledge about the risks associated with chronic low doses and provide useful risk estimates for radiation protection.
3-Nitrotyrosine has been reported as an important biomarker of oxidative stress that may play a role in a variety of diseases. In this work, transient UV-visible absorption spectra and kinetics observed during the reaction of the hydrated electron, eaq−, with 3-nitrotyrosine and derivatives thereof were investigated. The absorption spectra show characteristics of aromatic nitro anion radicals. The absorptivity of radical anion product at 300 nm is estimated to be (1.0 ± 0.2) × 104M−1 cm−1 at pH 7.3. The rate constants determined for the reaction of eaq− with 3-nitrotyrosine, N-acetyl-3-nitrotyrosine ethyl ester and glycylnitrotyrosylglycine at neutral pH (3.0 ± 0.3) × 1010M−1 s−1, (2.9 ± 0.2) × 1010M−1 s−1 and (1.9 ± 0.2) × 1010M−1 s−1, respectively, approach the diffusion-control limit and are almost two orders of magnitude higher than those for the reactions with tyrosine and tyrosine-containing peptides. The magnitude of the rate constants supports reaction of eaq− at the nitro group, and the product absorbance at 300 nm is consistent with formation of the nitro anion radical. The pH dependence of the second-order rate constant for eaq− decay (720 nm) in the presence of 3-nitrotyrosine shows a decrease with increasing pH, consistent with unfavorable electrostatic interactions. The pH dependence of the second-order rate constant for formation of radical anion (300 nm) product suggests that deprotonation of the amino group slows the rate, which indicates that deamination to form the 1-carboxy-2-(4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)ethyl radical occurs. We conclude that the presence of the nitro group activates tyrosine and derivatives toward reaction with eaq− and can affect the redox chemistry of biomolecules exposed to oxidative stress.