Epperly, M. W., Epstein, C. J., Travis, E. L. and Greenberger, J. S. Decreased Pulmonary Radiation Resistance of Manganese Superoxide Dismutase (MnSOD)-Deficient Mice is Corrected by Human Manganese Superoxide Dismutase-Plasmid/Liposome (SOD2-PL) Intratracheal Gene Therapy.

The pulmonary ionizing radiation sensitivity of C57BL/6 Sod2+/– mice heterozygous for MnSOD deficiency was compared to that Sod2+/+ control littermates. Embryo fibroblast cell lines from Sod2–/– (neonatal lethal) or Sod2+/– mice produced less biochemically active MnSOD and demonstrated a significantly greater in vitro radiosensitivity. No G2/M-phase cell cycle arrest after 5 Gy was observed in Sod2–/– cells compared to the Sod2+/– or Sod2+/+ lines. Subclonal Sod2–/– or Sod2+/– embryo fibroblast lines expressing the human SOD2 transgene showed increased biochemical activity of MnSOD and radioresistance. Sod2+/– mice receiving 18 Gy whole-lung irradiation died sooner and had an increased percentage of lung with organizing alveolitis between 100 and 160 days compared to Sod2+/+ wild-type littermates. Both Sod2+/– and Sod2+/+ littermates injected intratracheally with human manganese superoxide dismutase-plasmid/liposome (SOD2-PL) complex 24 h prior to whole-lung irradiation showed decreased DNA strand breaks and improved survival with decreased organizing alveolitis. Thus underexpression of MnSOD in the lungs of heterozygous Sod2+/– knockout mice is associated with increased pulmonary radiation sensitivity and parallels increased radiation sensitivity of embryo fibroblast cell lines in vitro. The restoration of cellular radioresistance in vitro and in lungs in vivo by SOD2-PL transgene expression supports a potential role for SOD2-PL gene therapy in organ-specific radioprotection.

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