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1 May 2002 Fas Is Involved in the p53-Dependent Apoptotic Response to Ionizing Radiation in Mouse Testis
Michelle Embree-Ku, Deborah Venturini, Kim Boekelheide
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Apoptosis induced in male germ cells following ionizing radiation is dependent on functional p53 (Trp53) being present. We sought to determine whether Fas (Tnfrsf6/CD95/APO-1), an apoptotic factor, is involved in this p53-dependent germ cell death. In p53 knock-out mice exposed to 5 Gy of x-radiation, germ cells were protected from cell death, as assessed by counting apoptotic seminiferous tubules 12 h following radiation. Similarly, spermatid head counts in p53 knock-out mice remained near normal 29 days after exposure to 0.5 Gy of radiation, whereas wild-type animals had a more than twofold reduction in spermatid head counts. Fas mRNA expression remained at pretreatment levels in p53 knock-out mice; however, Fas increased in a time-dependent manner in wild-type mice following exposure to 5 Gy of radiation, indicating that radiation-induced Fas expression is p53-dependent. The functional significance of Fas involvement was demonstrated when lprcg mice, having a nonfunctional Fas receptor, were exposed to 5 Gy of radiation; the number of apoptotic seminiferous tubules 12 h following radiation was significantly reduced compared to that of wild-type mice. Additionally, lprcg mice exposed to 0.5 Gy of radiation had increased spermatid head counts 29 days following radiation compared to wild-type mice. Interestingly, gld mice with a non-functional Fas ligand (Tnfsf6/FasL/CD95L) were as sensitive to radiation as wild-type animals, and levels of FasL mRNA were not affected by radiation treatment. These results indicate that apoptosis and up-regulation of Fas following radiation are both p53-dependent events. Although Fas is necessary, in part, for radiation-induced p53-dependent apoptosis, FasL is not.

Michelle Embree-Ku, Deborah Venturini, and Kim Boekelheide "Fas Is Involved in the p53-Dependent Apoptotic Response to Ionizing Radiation in Mouse Testis," Biology of Reproduction 66(5), 1456-1461, (1 May 2002).
Received: 7 September 2001; Accepted: 1 December 2001; Published: 1 May 2002

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