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Exp Mol Pathol. 2005 Apr;78(2):156-69. Epub 2005 Jan 5.

Role of cytokines and growth factors in radioprotection.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow 226 014, India.


Cytokines and growth factors are growing groups of proteins that are responsible for the communication between cells of the immune system, hematopoietic cells, and other cell types. The cloning and large-scale production in a recombinant form of these agents in pharmacological quantities permitted investigations aimed at assessing the benefit they may provide in preserving and restoring functions of tissues compromised by irradiation. We have extensively examined past investigations which suggest that some cytokines and growth factors protect animals from radiation lethality when given prior to or after irradiation, and even in untreated animals, these cytokines serve in innate defenses against external stimuli. In contrast, some cytokines given before irradiation sensitize the animals to radiation lethality. Unfortunately, due to their adverse side effects, these cytokines were not found suitable as radioprotectors. Recent studies suggest that new approaches may bring cytokines and growth factors in clinic for radiation injury. The information and insight gained about therapeutic potential of cytokine manipulation will allow for more rational design of treatment protocols.

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