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Title: Oxidative Stress and Skeletal Health with Low-Dose, Low-LET (Linear Energy Transfer) Ionizing Radiation

We performed in vivo and in vitro experiments to accomplish the following specific aims of this project: 1) determine if low dose, low LET radiation affects skeletal remodeling at structural, cellular and molecular levels and 2) determine if low dose, low LET radiation modulates skeletal health during aging via oxidative mechanisms. A third aim is supported by NASA supplement to this DOE grant focusing on the influence of high LET radiation on bone. A series of experiments were conducted at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven, NSRL-BNL, using iron (56Fe) or a sequential exposure to protons / iron / protons, and separate experiments at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) using 137Cs. The following provides a summary of key findings. (1) Exposure of nine-week old female mice to priming doses of gamma radiation (10cGy x 5) did not significantly affect bone volume/total volume (BV/TV) or microarchitecture as analyzed by 3D microcomputed tomography. As expected, exposure to the challenge dose of 2 Gy gamma irradiation resulted in significant decreases in BV/TV. The priming dose combined with the 2Gy challenge dose had no further effect on BV/TV compared to challenge dose alone, with the sole exception of the Structural Model Index (SMI).more » SMI reflects the ratio of rods-to-plates in cancellous bone tissue, such that higher SMI values indicate a tendency toward a weaker structure compared to lower SMI values. Mice treated with both priming and challenge dose had 25% higher SMI values compared to sham-irradiated controls and 7% higher values compared to mice treated with the challenge dose alone. Thus, although this priming regimen had relatively modest effects on cancellous tissue, the difference in SMI suggests this fractionated priming doses have adverse, rather than beneficial, effects on bone structure. (2) In 10-week old male mice, a single exposure to 100cGy of 137Cs reduces trabecular bone number and connectivity density by 20% and 36% respectively one month after irradiation (IR). At four months post-IR, these animals were comparable to sham-treated controls with regards to the abovementioned structural parameters. Irradation at 1 or 10 cGy did not result in any significant changes in bone structural parameters. (3) Irradiation of 16-wk old male mice with high doses of 56Fe or proton (50 or 200cGy), but not at low doses (5 or 10cGy), showed a similar loss of cancellous BV/TV and trabecular number at five weeks post-IR. (4) Age-related bone loss overtook acute radiation-induced decrements in bone structure within four months post-IR with 100 cGy gamma and 12 months post-IR with 200 cGy iron. Transgenic mice globally overexpressing human catalase gene in mitochondria did not exhibit cancellous bone loss as assessed at four month post-IR with 10 cGy proton, 50 cGy iron, or in combination. (5) The cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for loss of bone with radiation are mediated primarily through increased osteoclastogenesis. Our data provide evidence that there are increases in gene expression of TNF alpha and MCP1 in the bone marrow cells 24 hours post-IR and of osteoclastogenic differentiation factor RANKL by day 3. These cytokines in the marrow may stimulate mature osteoclasts or drive osteoclastogenesis from precursors. (6) Osteoblastogenesis from marrow progenitors evaluated ex vivo decreased following whole body 56Fe irradiation at a dose threshold between 20 and 50 cGy whereas osteoclastogenesis ex vivo increased with doses as low as 10cGy two days post-IR of mice. However, the latter finding was not observed in more than a single experiment. (7) Gamma irradiation of cells in vitro requires relatively high doses (200cGy) to disturb normal osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis as evidenced by decrements in mineralized nodule formation, osteoclast counts, and expression of osteoblast related genes such as runx2, col1a1. (8) We also investigated the effect of antioxidants on osteoblastogenesis following low dose in vitro gamma irradiation (15cGy) on day four bone marrow stromal cell cultures. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) was added to the cell culture medium for 2 or 3 days post-irradiation and cell colonies were counted on days 7 and 10. SOD treatment increased cell growth as measured by DNA content and colony forming units (CFU) in both irradiated cells and 0 cGy control groups. However, low dose radiation of 15cGy abolished SOD stimulatory effects on cell growth and CFU number. These results suggest that exogenous SOD increases osteoblast cell growth and colony formation and that low-dose radiation (15cGy) can interfere with the antioxidant effects. In summary, our findings indicate that acute, whole body irradiation at high doses (50-200 cGy) results in prompt tissue degradation and bone loss. Lower doses (<50 cGy) do not cause bone structural deterioration but may deplete stem/progenitor cell pools in the bone marrow.« less
  1. NASA Ames Research Center, Washington, DC (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
NASA Ames Research Center, Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; radiation; bone; oxidative stress; spaceflight; oxidative damage; low LET radiation; osteoclast; osteoblast