Purpose: The majority of the research on the biologic effects of ionizing radiation has focused on the impact of radiation on cells in terms of gene expression, DNA damage, and cytotoxicity. In comparison, little information is available concerning the direct effects of radiation on the extracellular microenvironment, specifically the extracellular matrix and its main component, collagen. We have developed a series of monoclonal antibodies that bind to cryptic epitopes of collagen Type IV that are differentially exposed during matrix remodeling and are key mediators of angiogenesis. We have hypothesized that ionizing radiation might affect the process of angiogenesis through a direct effect on the extracellular matrix and specifically on collagen Type IV.
Methods and materials: Angiogenesis was induced in a chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model; 24 h later, a single-dose treatment with ionizing radiation (0.5, 5, and 20 cGy) was administered. Angiogenesis was assessed, and the exposure of two cryptic regulatory epitopes within collagen Type IV (HUI77 and HUIV26) was studied in vitro by solid-phase ELISA and in vivo by immunofluorescence staining.
Results: A dose-dependent reduction of angiogenesis with maximum inhibition (85%-90%) occurring at 20 cGy was demonstrated in the CAM model. Exposure of the cryptic HUIV26 site, an angiogenesis control element, was inhibited both in vitro and in vivo by the same radiation dose, whereas little if any change was observed for the HUI77 cryptic epitope.
Conclusions: A dose-dependent alteration of the functional exposure of the HUIV26 cryptic epitope is induced by radiation in vitro and in the CAM model in vivo. This radiation-induced change in protein structure and function may contribute to the inhibitory effects of ionizing radiation on new blood vessel growth and warrants further studies in other models.