Contrast media has been shown to induce nephropathy (i.e., contrast-induced nephropathy) after various types of radiological examinations. The molecular mechanism of contrast-induced nephropathy has been unclear. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of contrast-induced nephropathy by examining the effects of combined treatment of contrast medium and ionizing radiation on kidney cells in vitro and kidney tissue in vivo. In human renal tubular epithelium cells, immunofluorescence analysis revealed that iohexol increased the numbers of radiation-induced γH2AX nuclear foci. The numbers of γH2AX nuclear foci remained high at 24 h, suggesting that some radiation-induced double-strand breaks remain unrepaired in the presence of iohexol. We established a mouse model of contrast-induced nephropathy, then showed that iohexol and ionizing radiation synergistically reduced renal function and induced double-strand breaks. Importantly, iohexol induced significant macrophage accumulation and oxidative DNA damage in the kidneys of contrast-induced nephropathy model mice in the absence of ionizing radiation; these effects were amplified by ionizing radiation. The results suggest that underlying inflammation and oxidative DNA damage caused by iohexol contribute to the enhancement of radiation-induced double-strand breaks, leading to contrast-induced nephropathy.
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Vol. 197 • No. 4