Vorotnikova, E., Tries, M. and Braunhut, S. J. Retinoids and TIMP1 Prevent Radiation-Induced Apoptosis of Capillary Endothelial Cells. Radiat. Res. 161, 174–184 (2004).
Radiation-induced changes in capillaries constitute a basic injury in the pathogenesis of chronic radiation damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidney and brain. It is important to identify new radioprotectors for capillary endothelial cells for use during radiotherapy to minimize normal tissue damage and possibly to increase the deliverable dose. Previously we demonstrated that exposure to ionizing radiation (10 Gy) results in death of bovine adrenal capillary endothelial cells in confluent monolayers by apoptosis. We also showed that retinoids inhibit the growth of endothelial cells, induce their differentiation, down-regulate matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) production, and up-regulate tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMPs). In the present studies, we demonstrated that radiation (10 Gy) induced an immediate increase in the amounts and activation of MMP1 and MMP2 in the cell fraction and medium of bovine capillary endothelial cells followed by an incidence of apoptosis. We also obtained data indicating that radiation-induced apoptosis can be inhibited by exposing bovine capillary endothelial cells to all-trans-retinol or all-trans-retinoic acid for 6 days before irradiation, even when the vitamins were removed 24 h before irradiation. Finally, we determined that inhibition of MMPs by TIMP was sufficient to block radiation-induced apoptosis, suggesting that the mechanism of protection by retinoids is through the alteration of levels of MMPs and TIMPs produced by the cells.