After radiation exposure, endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation is impaired due to impaired nitric oxide production. Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by uncoupled endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity, oxidation of the reduced cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin to dihydrobiopterin as one well recognized mechanism. Oral treatment with sepiapterin, a tetrahydrobiopterin precursor, decreased infiltrating inflammatory cells and cytokine levels in mice with colitis. We therefore tested whether a synthetic sepiapterin, PTC923, might mitigate radiation-induced cardiac and pulmonary injuries. C57L/J wild-type 6–8-week-old mice of both sexes received 5 Gy total-body irradiation (TBI), followed by a top-up dose of 6.5 Gy to the thorax (total thoracic dose of 11.5 Gy). Starting from 24 h postirradiation, mice were treated once daily with 1 mg/kg PTC923 for six days by oral gavage. Assessment of lung injury by breathing rate was measured every other week and echocardiography to assess heart function was performed at different time points (8, 30, 60, 90 and 180 days). Plasma proteins (fibrinogen, neutrophil elastase, C-reactive protein, and IL-6) were assessed as well. TBI induced a reduction in cardiac contractile reserve and an impairment in diastolic function restored by daily oral PTC923. Postirradiation lung injury was significantly delayed by PTC923. TBI mice treated with PTC923 experienced a longer survival compared to nonirradiated mice (71% vs. 40% of mice alive after 180 days). PTC923-treated mice showed a reduction in inflammatory mediators, especially IL-6 and IL-1b. In conclusion, these findings support the proposal that PTC923 is a potential mitigator of cardiac and lung injury caused by TBI.
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Vol. 195 • No. 5