Ionizing radiation (IR) causes an increase in intracellular calcium, alters contractility, and triggers apoptosis via the activation of PKCα and -ε in irradiated smooth muscle cells. The present study investigated the role of the mitochondria in these processes and characterized the proteins involved in IR-induced apoptosis. Intestinal smooth muscle cells were exposed to 10–50 Gy from a γ-source. ROS and H2O2 levels were measured with colourimetry and a DCFH-DA probe, and protein expression was analyzed by immunoblotting and immunofluorescence. The IR-induced generation of ROS was inhibited by glutathione, and apoptosis was mediated by the mitochondria via BAX, cytochrome c, and caspase 3. IR increased the expression of the cyclins A, B2, and E, and led to unbalanced cellular growth in an absorption dose-dependent manner. However, radiation did not induce alterations in the mitochondrial ultrastructure or in KΨmito. In contrast, IR increased the nuclear expression of BAG-1, TNFα, PKCα, and -ε and cyclins A and E. In conclusion, IR triggers the activation of antiapoptotic proteins and enhances the risk of a second type of cancer in patients undergoing radiotherapy. In addition to increasing the radioresistance of cells, antiapoptotic proteins can also stimulate uncontrolled cell proliferation that culminates in mutagenesis.
Part of the book: Free Radical Medicine and Biology