Following exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation, diverse strains of vertebrate species will manifest varying levels of radiation sensitivity. To understand the inter-strain cellular and molecular mechanisms of radiation sensitivity, two mouse strains with varying radiosensitivity (C3H/HeN, and CD2F1), were exposed to total body irradiation (TBI). Since Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) signaling pathway is associated with radiosensitivity, we investigated the link between systemic or tissue-specific IGF-1 signaling and radiosensitivity. Adult male C3H/HeN and CD2F1 mice were irradiated using gamma photons at Lethal Dose-70/30 (LD70/30), 7.8 and 9.35 Gy doses, respectively. Those mice that survived up to 30 days post-irradiation, were termed the survivors. Mice that were euthanized prior to 30 days post-irradiation due to deteriorated health were termed decedents. The analysis of non-irradiated and irradiated survivor and decedent mice showed that inter-strain radiosensitivity and post-irradiation survival outcomes are associated with activation status of tissue and systemic IGF-1 signaling, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation, and the gene expression profile of cardiac mitochondrial energy metabolism pathways. Our findings link radiosensitivity with dysregulation of IGF-1 signaling, and highlight the role of antioxidant gene response and mitochondrial function in radiation sensitivity.
Keywords: IGF-1; Nrf2; mitochondria; oxidative stress; radiation injury.