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Exp Lung Res. 1998 May-Jun;24(3):321-37.

Alterations in the expression of chemokine mRNA levels in fibrosis-resistant and -sensitive mice after thoracic irradiation.

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University of Rochester, Department of Environmental Medicine, Radiation Oncology and Pediatrics 14642, USA.


Fibrosis, characterized by the accumulation of collagen, is a consequence of a chronic inflammatory response. The purpose of this study was to determine if the mRNA expression of the chemokines, lymphotactin (Ltn), RANTES, eotaxin, macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1 alpha, -1 beta, and -2, interferon-inducible protein 10 (IP-10), and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), are altered during the development of radiation-induced pneumonitis and fibrosis. Further, we wished to determine if these changes differ between two strains of mice that vary in their sensitivity to radiation fibrosis. Fibrosis-sensitive (C57BL/6) and fibrosis-resistant (C3H/HeJ) mice were irradiated with a single dose of 12.5 Gy to the thorax. Total lung RNA was prepared and hybridized utilizing RNase protection assays. Data were quantified by phosphorimaging and results normalized to a constituitively expressed mRNA L32. 8 weeks post-irradiation most chemokines measured were elevated to varying degrees. The degree of elevation of each chemokine was identical in both strains. This suggested that chemotactic activity for neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes were occurring during pneumonitis. By 26 weeks post-irradiation, messages encoding Ltn, RANTES, IP-10, and MCP-1 were elevated only in fibrosis sensitive (C57BL/6) mice. In situ hybridization demonstrated that MCP-1 and RANTES transcripts were produced predominantly from macrophages and lymphocytes. These studies suggest that lymphocytic recruitment and activation are key components of radiation-induced fibrosis.

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