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Clin Immunol. 2013 Jul;148(1):44-55. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Characterization of direct radiation-induced immune function and molecular signaling changes in an antigen presenting cell line.

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Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.


Radiation therapy is a widely used cancer treatment and pre-transplantation conditioning regimen that has the potential to influence anti-tumor and post-transplantation immune responses. Although conventionally fractionated radiation doses can suppress immune responses by depleting lymphocytes, single high doses of local tumor radiation can enhance immune responses. Using phospho-flow cytometry analysis of a human monocytic cell line, we identified novel radiation-induced changes in the phosphorylation state of NFκB family members known in other cell types to maintain and regulate immune function. These phosphorylation changes were p53 independent, but were strongly dependent upon ATM activation due to DNA damage. We found that radiation promotes the activation and APC functional maturation through phosphorylation of NFκB Essential Modulator (NEMO). Our results and the analytic methods are especially well suited to the study of functional changes in APC when radiation is used for immune modulation in clinical protocols.

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