Reiter, R., Deutschle, T., Wiegel, T., Riechelmann, H. and Bartkowiak, D. Absence of Inflammatory Response from Upper Airway Epithelial Cells after X Irradiation. Radiat. Res. 171, 274–282 (2009).
Radiotherapy of head and neck tumors causes adverse reactions in normal tissue, especially mucositis. The dose- and time-dependent response of upper airway cells to X radiation should be analyzed in terms of the pro-inflammatory potential. Immortalized BEAS-2B lung epithelial cells were treated with 2, 5 and 8 Gy. Out of 1232 genes, those that were transcribed differentially after 2, 6 and 24 h were assigned to biological themes according to the Gene Ontology Consortium. Enrichment of differentially regulated gene clusters was determined with GOTree ( http://bioinfo.vanderbilt.edu/gotm). Eleven cytokines were measured in culture supernatants. The cell cycle response up to 24 h and induction of apoptosis up to 4 days after exposure were determined by flow cytometry. A significant dose- and time-dependent gene activation was observed for the categories response to DNA damage, oxidative stress, cell cycle arrest and cell death/apoptosis but not for immune/inflammatory response. This correlated with functional G2 arrest and apoptosis. Pro-inflammatory cytokines accumulated in supernatants of control cells but not of X-irradiated cells. The complex gene expression pattern of X-irradiated airway epithelial cells is accompanied by cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis. In vivo, this may impair the epithelial barrier. mRNA and protein expression suggest at most an indirect contribution of epithelial cells to early radiogenic mucositis.