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Cell Signal. 2010 Jul;22(7):1076-87. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2010.02.010. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

Radiation-induced bystander signaling pathways in human fibroblasts: a role for interleukin-33 in the signal transmission.

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  • 1Center for Radiological Research, Department of Radiation Oncology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The main goal of this study is to elucidate the mechanisms of the signal transmission for radiation-induced bystander response. The NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression of IL8, IL6, PTGS2/COX2, TNF and IL33 in directly irradiated human skin fibroblasts produced the cytokines and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) with autocrine/paracrine functions, which further activated signaling pathways and induced NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression in bystander cells. As a result, bystander cells also started expression and production of interleukin-8, interleukin-6, COX-2-generated PGE2 and interleukin-33 (IL-33) followed by autocrine/paracrine stimulation of the NF-kappaB and MAPK pathways. A blockage of IL-33 transmitting functions with anti-IL-33 monoclonal antibody added into the culture media decreased NF-kappaB activation in directly irradiated and bystander cells. On the other hand, the IGF-1-Receptor kinase regulated the PI3K-AKT pathway in both directly irradiated and bystander fibroblasts. A pronounced and prolonged increase in AKT activity after irradiation was a characteristic feature of bystander cells. AKT positively regulated IL-33 protein expression levels. Suppression of the IGF-R1-AKT-IL-33 pathway substantially increased radiation-induced or TRAIL-induced apoptosis in fibroblasts. Taken together, our results demonstrated the early activation of NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression first in directly irradiated and then bystander fibroblasts, the further modulation of critical proteins, including IL-33, by AKT in bystander cells and late drastic changes in cell survival and in enhanced sensitivity to TRAIL-induced apoptosis after suppression of the IGF-1R-AKT-IL-33 signaling cascade in both directly irradiated and bystander cells.

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