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Ionizing radiation enhances matrix metalloproteinase-2 production in human lung epithelial cells.

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The First Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


Radiation pneumonitis is a major complication of radiation therapy. However, the detailed cellular mechanisms have not been clearly defined. Based on the recognition that basement membrane disruption occurs in acute lung injury and that matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 can degrade type IV collagen, one of the major components of the basement membrane, we hypothesized that ionizing radiation would modulate MMP-2 production in human lung epithelial cells. To evaluate this, the modulation of MMP-2 with irradiation was investigated in normal human bronchial epithelial cells as well as in A549 cells. We measured the activity of MMP-2 in the conditioned medium with zymography and the MMP-2 mRNA level with RT-PCR. Both of these cells constitutively expressed 72-kDa gelatinolytic activity, corresponding to MMP-2, and exposure to radiation increased this activity. Consistent with the data of zymography, ionizing radiation increased the level of MMP-2 mRNA. This radiation-induced increase in MMP-2 expression was mediated via p53 because the p53 antisense oligonucleotide abolished the increase in MMP-2 activity as well as the accumulation of p53 after irradiation in A549 cells. These results indicate that MMP-2 expression by human lung epithelial cells is involved in radiation-induced lung injury.

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