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Radiat Res. 1989 Oct;120(1):113-20.

Radiation-induced pulmonary endothelial dysfunction and hydroxyproline accumulation in four strains of mice.

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Department of Radiology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611.


C57BL mice exposed to 14 Gy of whole-thorax irradiation develop significant histologic lung fibrosis within 52 weeks, whereas CBA and C3H mice do not exhibit substantial fibrosis during this time. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether this strain-dependent difference in radiation histopathology is associated with genetic differences in pulmonary endothelial metabolic activity or in endothelial radioresponsiveness. C57BL/6J, C57BL/10J, CBA/J, and C3H/HeJ mice were sacrificed 12 weeks after exposure to 0 or 14 Gy of 300-kV X rays to the whole thorax. Lung angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity and plasminogen activator (PLA) activity were measured as indices of pulmonary endothelial function; and lung hydroxyproline (HP) content served as an index of pulmonary fibrosis. Lung ACE and PLA activities in sham-irradiated C57BL/6J and CB57BL/10J mice were only half as high as those in sham-irradiated CBA/J and C3H/HeJ mice. Exposure to 14 Gy of X rays produced a slight but nonsignificant reduction in lung ACE and PLA activity in the C57BL strains, and a significant reduction in the CBA/J and C3H/HeJ mice. Even after 14 Gy, however, lung ACE and PLA activities in CBA/J and C3H/HeJ mice were higher than those in sham-irradiated C57BL/6J and C57BL/10J mice. Lung HP content in all four strains increased significantly after irradiation, but this increase was accompanied by an increase in lung wet weight. As a result, HP concentration (per milligram wet weight) remained constant or increased slightly in both C57BL strains and actually decreased in the CBA/J and C3H/HeJ mice. These data demonstrate significant genetic differences in both intrinsic pulmonary endothelial enzyme activity and endothelial radioresponsiveness among the four strains of mice. Specifically, strains prone to radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis (C57BL/6J, C57BL/10J) exhibit only half as much lung ACE and PLA activity as do strains resistant to fibrosis (CBA and C3H).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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