Radiation induced pulmonary fibrosis as a model of progressive fibrosis: Contributions of DNA damage, inflammatory response and cellular senescence genes

Exp Lung Res. 2017 Apr;43(3):134-149. doi: 10.1080/01902148.2017.1318975. Epub 2017 May 23.


Purpose/Aim of Study: Studies of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) have resulted in DNA damage, inflammatory response, and cellular senescence being widely hypothesized to play a role in the progression of the disease. Utilizing these aforementioned terms, genomics databases were interrogated along with the term, "pulmonary fibrosis," to identify genes common among all 4 search terms. Findings were compared to data derived from a model of radiation-induced progressive pulmonary fibrosis (RIPF) to verify that these genes are similarly expressed, supporting the use of radiation as a model for diseases involving PF, such as human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Materials and methods: In an established model of RIPF, C57BL/6J mice were exposed to 12.5 Gy thorax irradiation and sacrificed at 24 hours, 1, 4, 12, and 32 weeks following exposure, and lung tissue was compared to age-matched controls by RNA sequencing.

Results: Of 176 PF associated gene transcripts identified by database interrogation, 146 (>82%) were present in our experimental model, throughout the progression of RIPF. Analysis revealed that nearly 85% of PF gene transcripts were associated with at least 1 other search term. Furthermore, of 22 genes common to all four terms, 16 were present experimentally in RIPF.

Conclusions: This illustrates the validity of RIPF as a model of progressive PF/IPF based on the numbers of transcripts reported in both literature and observed experimentally. Well characterized genes and proteins are implicated in this model, supporting the hypotheses that DNA damage, inflammatory response and cellular senescence are associated with the pathogenesis of PF.

Keywords: IPF; RNA sequencing; pulmonary fibrosis; radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Disease Progression*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Inflammation*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / etiology
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Thorax / radiation effects
  • Time Factors