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Free Radic Biol Med. 2007 Apr 15;42(8):1133-45; discussion 1131-2. Epub 2007 Jan 13.

Lack of extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) in the microenvironment impacts radiation-induced changes in neurogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94110-0899, and GRECC, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, USA.


Ionizing irradiation results in significant alterations in hippocampal neurogenesis that are associated with cognitive impairments. Such effects are influenced, in part, by alterations in the microenvironment within which the neurogenic cells exist. One important factor that may affect neurogenesis is oxidative stress, and this study was done to determine if and how the extracellular isoform of superoxide dismutase (SOD3, EC-SOD) mediated radiation-induced alterations in neurogenic cells. Wild-type (WT) and EC-SOD knockout (KO) mice were irradiated with 5 Gy and acute (8-48 h) cellular changes and long-term changes in neurogenesis were quantified. Acute radiation responses were not different between genotypes, suggesting that the absence of EC-SOD did not influence mechanisms responsible for acute cell death after irradiation. On the other hand, the extent of neurogenesis was decreased by 39% in nonirradiated KO mice relative to WT controls. In contrast, while neurogenesis was decreased by nearly 85% in WT mice after irradiation, virtually no reduction in neurogenesis was observed in KO mice. These findings show that after irradiation, an environment lacking EC-SOD is much more permissive in the context of hippocampal neurogenesis. This finding may have a major impact in developing strategies to reduce cognitive impairment after cranial irradiation.

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