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Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Jun 25;11(12):4145-4158. doi: 10.18632/aging.102043.

Intestinal stem cells acquire premature senescence and senescence associated secretory phenotype concurrent with persistent DNA damage after heavy ion radiation in mice.

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1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA.

Abstract

Heavy ion radiation, prevalent in outer space and relevant for radiotherapy, is densely ionizing and poses risk to stem cells that are key to intestinal homeostasis. Currently, the molecular spectrum of heavy ion radiation-induced perturbations in intestinal stem cells (ISCs), that could trigger intestinal pathologies, remains largely unexplored. The Lgr5-EGFP-IRES-creERT mice were exposed to 50 cGy of iron radiation. Mice were euthanized 60 d after exposure and ISCs were sorted using fluorescence activated cell sorting. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial superoxide were measured using fluorescent probes. Since DNA damage is linked to senescence and senescent cells acquire senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), we stained ISCs for both senescence markers p16, p21, and p19 as well as SASP markers IL6, IL8, and VEGF. Due to potential positive effects of SASP on proliferation, we also stained for PCNA. Data show increased ROS and ongoing DNA damage, by staining for γH2AX, and 53BP1, along with accumulation of senescence markers. Results also showed increased SASP markers in senescent cells. Collectively, our data suggest that heavy-ion-induced chronic stress and ongoing DNA damage is promoting SASP in a fraction of the ISCs, which has implications for gastrointestinal function, inflammation, and carcinogenesis in astronauts and patients.

KEYWORDS:

SASP; heavy ion radiation; intestinal stem cell; premature aging; radiotherapy; senescence; space radiation

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