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1.  Differential expression of thymic DNA repair genes in low-dose-rate irradiated AKR/J mice 
Journal of Veterinary Science  2013;14(3):271-279.
We previously determined that AKR/J mice housed in a low-dose-rate (LDR) (137Cs, 0.7 mGy/h, 2.1 Gy) γ-irradiation facility developed less spontaneous thymic lymphoma and survived longer than those receiving sham or high-dose-rate (HDR) (137Cs, 0.8 Gy/min, 4.5 Gy) radiation. Interestingly, histopathological analysis showed a mild lymphomagenesis in the thymus of LDR-irradiated mice. Therefore, in this study, we investigated whether LDR irradiation could trigger the expression of thymic genes involved in the DNA repair process of AKR/J mice. The enrichment analysis of Gene Ontology terms and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways showed immune response, nucleosome organization, and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors signaling pathway in LDR-irradiated mice. Our microarray analysis and quantitative polymerase chain reaction data demonstrated that mRNA levels of Lig4 and RRM2 were specifically elevated in AKR/J mice at 130 days after the start of LDR irradiation. Furthermore, transcriptional levels of H2AX and ATM, proteins known to recruit DNA repair factors, were also shown to be upregulated. These data suggest that LDR irradiation could trigger specific induction of DNA repair-associated genes in an attempt to repair damaged DNA during tumor progression, which in turn contributed to the decreased incidence of lymphoma and increased survival. Overall, we identified specific DNA repair genes in LDR-irradiated AKR/J mice.
doi:10.4142/jvs.2013.14.3.271
PMCID: PMC3788152  PMID: 23820165
AKR/J mice; DNA repair genes; low-dose-rate radiation; thymic lymphoma
2.  Augmentation of natural cytotoxicity by chronic low-dose ionizing radiation in murine natural killer cells primed by IL-2 
Journal of Radiation Research  2012;53(6):823-829.
The possible beneficial effects of chronic low-dose irradiation (LDR) and its mechanism of action in a variety of pathophysiological processes such as cancer are a subject of intense investigation. While animal studies involving long-term exposure to LDR have yielded encouraging results, the influence of LDR at the cellular level has been less well defined. We reasoned that since natural killer (NK) cells constitute an early responder to exogenous stress, NK cells may reveal sentinel alterations in function upon exposure to LDR. When purified NK cells received LDR at 4.2 mGy/h for a total of 0.2 Gy in vitro, no significant difference in cell viability was observed. Likewise, no functional changes were detected in LDR-exposed NK cells, demonstrating that LDR alone was insufficient to generate changes at the cellular level. Nonetheless, significant augmentation of cytotoxic, but not proliferative, function was detected when NK cells were stimulated with low-dose IL-2 prior to irradiation. This enhancement of NK cytotoxicity was not due to alterations in NK-activating receptors, NK1.1, NKG2D, CD69 and 2B4, or changes in the rate of early or late apoptosis. Therefore, LDR, in the presence of suboptimal cytokine levels, can facilitate anti-tumor cytotoxicity of NK cells without influencing cellular proliferation or apoptosis. Whether these results translate to in vivo consequences remains to be seen; however, our data provide initial evidence that exposure to LDR can lead to subtle immune-enhancing effects on NK cells and may explain, in part, the functional basis underlying, diverse beneficial effects seen in the animals chronically exposed to LDR.
doi:10.1093/jrr/rrs037
PMCID: PMC3483842  PMID: 22915781
Low-dose radiation; natural killer cells; natural cytotoxicity; innate immunity

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