Purpose: We examined the effects of manganese (III) meso-tetrakis (diethyl-2-5-imidazole) porphyrin, a metalloporphyrin antioxidant (MPA), on neural tissue radiation toxicity in vivo and on tumour cell radiosensitivity in vitro.
Materials and methods: MPA was administered directly into the right lateral ventricle of young adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats (0 or 3.4 microg) 3 h before treatment with a single fraction, 100 Gy radiation dose delivered to the left brain hemisphere. The effects of treatment on radiation responses were assessed at different time points following irradiation.
Results: MPA treatment prior to brain irradiation protected against acute radiation-induced apoptosis and ameliorated delayed damage to the blood-brain barrier and radiation necrosis, but without producing a discernible increase in tissue superoxide disumtase (SOD) activity. In vitro, MPA pretreatment protected against radiation-induced apoptosis in primary neuronal cultures and increased clonogenic survival of irradiated rat glioma C6 cells, but had no discernible effect on radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks. MPA, a low molecular weight SOD mimic, significantly increased mitochondrial SOD activity in C6 cells, but not total cellular SOD activity. MPA up-regulated C6 expression of heme-oxygenase 1 (HO-1), an endogenous radioprotectant, but had no effect on HO-1 levels in human astrocytoma U-251 cells, human prostatic carcinoma LNCaP cells, or primary rat brain microvascular endothelial cells in vitro, nor on brain tissue HO-1 expression levels in vivo.
Conclusions: Metalloporphyrin antioxidants merit further exploration as adjunctive radioprotectants for cranial radiotherapy/radiosurgery applications, although the potential for tumour protection must be carefully considered.