Author(s): Monceau V, Pasinetti N, Schupp C, Pouzoulet F, Opolon P,
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Abstract The medical options available to prevent or treat radiation-induced injury are scarce and developing effective countermeasures is still an open research field. In addition, more than half of cancer patients are treated with radiation therapy, which displays a high antitumor efficacy but can cause, albeit rarely, disabling long-term toxicities including radiation fibrosis. Progress has been made in the definition of molecular pathways associated with normal tissue toxicity that suggest potentially effective therapeutic targets. Targeting the Rho/ROCK pathway seems a promising anti-fibrotic approach, at least in the gut; the current study was performed to assess whether this target was relevant to the prevention and/or treatment of injury to the main thoracic organs, namely heart and lungs. First, we showed activation of two important fibrogenic pathways (Smad and Rho/ROCK) in response to radiation-exposure to adult cardiomyocytes; we extended these observations in vivo to the heart and lungs of mice, 15 and 30 weeks post-irradiation. We correlated this fibrogenic molecular imprint with alteration of heart physiology and long-term remodelling of pulmonary and cardiac histological structures. Lastly, cardiac and pulmonary radiation injury and bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis were successfully modulated using Rho/ROCK inhibitors (statins and Y-27632) and this was associated with a normalization of fibrogenic markers. In conclusion, the present paper shows for the first time, activation of Rho/ROCK and Smad pathways in pulmonary and cardiac radiation-induced delayed injury. Our findings thereby reveal a safe and efficient therapeutic opportunity for the abrogation of late thoracic radiation injury, potentially usable either before or after radiation exposure; this approach is especially attractive in (1) the radiation oncology setting, as it does not interfere with prior anti-cancer treatment and in (2) radioprotection, as applicable to the treatment of established radiation injury, for example in the case of radiation accidents or acts of terrorism.
This article was published in Curr Drug Targets
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics