Deficiency of Microvascular Thrombomodulin and Up-Regulation of Protease-Activated receptor-1 in Irradiated Rat Intestine: Possible Link Between Endothelial Dysfunction and Chronic Radiation Fibrosis

Am J Pathol. 2002 Jun;160(6):2063-72. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)61156-X.

Abstract

Microvascular injury is believed to be mechanistically involved in radiation fibrosis, but direct molecular links between endothelial dysfunction and radiation fibrosis have not been established in vivo. We examined radiation-induced changes in endothelial thrombomodulin (TM) and protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) in irradiated intestine, and their relationship to structural, cellular, and molecular aspects of radiation injury. Rat small intestine was locally exposed to fractionated X-radiation. Structural injury was assessed 24 hours and 2, 6, and 26 weeks after the last radiation fraction using quantitative histology and morphometry. TM, neutrophils, transforming growth factor-beta, and collagens I and III were assessed by quantitative immunohistochemistry. PAR-1 protein was localized immunohistochemically, and cells expressing TM or PAR-1 transcript were identified by in situ hybridization. Steady-state PAR-1 mRNA levels in intestinal smooth muscle were determined using laser capture microdissection and competitive reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Radiation caused a sustained, dose-dependent decrease in microvascular TM. The number of TM-positive vessels correlated with all parameters of radiation enteropathy and, after adjusting for radiation dose and observation time in a statistical model, remained independently associated with neutrophil infiltration, intestinal wall thickening, and collagen I accumulation. PAR-1 immunoreactivity and transcript increased in vascular and intestinal smooth muscle cells in irradiated intestine. PAR-1 mRNA increased twofold in irradiated intestinal smooth muscle. Intestinal irradiation up-regulates PAR-1 and causes a dose-dependent, sustained deficiency of microvascular TM that is independently associated with the severity of radiation toxicity. Interventions aimed at preserving or restoring endothelial TM or blocking PAR-1 should be explored as strategies to increase the therapeutic ratio in clinical radiation therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endothelium / physiopathology
  • Fibrosis
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Intestinal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Intestines / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptors, Thrombin / biosynthesis*
  • Thrombomodulin / deficiency*
  • Up-Regulation*

Substances

  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptors, Thrombin
  • Thrombomodulin