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Differential radioprotection of cultured human diploid fibroblasts and fibrosarcoma cells by WR1065.

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Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis 63108.


The present studies were performed to determine whether WR1065, the dephosphorylated, free-thiol active metabolite of WR2721, could provide differential radioprotection of normal and tumor cell lines in vitro and secondly to investigate potential mechanisms for the selective nature of the radioprotection at the cellular and molecular level. When 4 mM WR1065 was administered 30 min prior to and during irradiation, a protection factor of 1.9 was obtained in clonogenic assays performed with normal human diploid fibroblasts (AG1522) while no protection of fibrosarcoma cells (HT1080) was observed. Some radioprotection of fibrosarcoma cells was observed with higher drug concentrations (10-40 mM), but the increase in survival was considerably less than the plateau level reached with the diploid fibroblasts (3-fold vs 24-fold at 6 Gy). The observation of such a selective effect in vitro with WR1065 indicates that differences in tissue-specific variables such as blood flow, pH, pO2, and drug dephosphorylation cannot solely account for the selective nature of the radioprotection afforded by WR2721 in vivo. Incubation of nucleoids with increasing concentrations of the DNA intercalating dye propidium iodide was used to titrate the ability of DNA to undergo supercoiling changes. The relaxation and rewinding of supercoiled DNA loops in isolated nucleoids serves as an indicator of both the presence of DNA damage and inherent differences in DNA loop characteristics. Fibrosarcoma cells had a much larger propidium iodide-relaxable DNA loop size than fibroblasts. The rewinding phase of the DNA supercoiling response is impaired by the presence of radiation-induced DNA strand breaks. Four mM WR1065 resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of rewinding inhibition observed after a dose of 10 Gy in diploid fibroblasts (protection factor = 1.43) but did not alter the response of irradiated fibrosarcoma cells. These results, indicating that WR1065 had a preferential radioprotective effect in vitro on both survival and the manifestation of DNA damage at the nucleoid level, are consistent with the hypothesis that cell type differences in chromatin organization and DNA-drug associations could play a role in the selective radioprotection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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