Radiation treatment of acute inflammation in mice

Int J Radiat Biol. 2005 Sep;81(9):657-67. doi: 10.1080/09553000500385556.


Purpose: Low-dose radiotherapy (RT) has often been used effectively for the treatment of a variety of benign diseases, particularly those with acute inflammatory features. Here we report findings on radiation treatment of acute inflammation using a murine carrageenin air pouch model.

Materials and methods: Air pouches raised on the dorsal surface of mice were injected with lambda carrageenin and were irradiated 6 h later with doses ranging from 0-5 Gy. Treatment success was evaluated at various times thereafter by volume of exudate and number of inflammatory cells, and levels of inflammation-related cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta) and transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFbeta-1), and expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting, respectively.

Results: Crude inflammatory parameters such as the amount of exudates and number of inflammatory cells remained largely unaffected by radiation or were even a slightly and transiently increased. However, the expression of iNOS was attenuated by radiation concomitant with an increase in the levels of HO-1 and HSP70. Cytokine levels varied with the radiation dose and the time point.

Conclusions: Ionizing radiation, even at low doses, functionally modulates inflammatory cells. Our findings indicate possible mechanisms as to how low-dose radiation may exert anti-inflammatory effects and provide the first evidence that heat shock proteins may be involved in this response.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Carrageenan
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation / radiotherapy*
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Carrageenan