Michael W. Epperly, Donna Shields, Renee Fisher, Wen Hou, Hong Wang, Diala Fatima Hamade, Amitava Mukherjee, Joel S. Greenberger
Radiation Research 196 (3), 235-249, (4 June 2021) https://doi.org/10.1667/RADE-20-00286.1
We defined the time course of ionizing radiation-induced senescence in lung compared to bone marrow of p16+/LUC mice in which the senescence-induced biomarker (p16) is linked to a luciferase reporter gene. Periodic in situ imaging revealed increased luciferase activity in the lungs of 20 Gy thoracic irradiated, but not 8 Gy total-body irradiated (TBI) mice beginning at day 75 and increasing to day 170. In serial sections of explanted lungs, senescent cells appeared in the same areas as did fibrosis in the 20 Gy thoracic irradiated, but not the 8 Gy TBI group. Lungs from 8 Gy TBI mice at one year did show increased RNA levels for p16, p21, p19 and TGF-β. Individual senescent cells in 20 Gy irradiated mouse lung included those with epithelial, endothelial, fibroblast and hematopoietic cell biomarkers. Rare senescent cells in the lungs of 8 Gy TBI mice at one year were of endothelial phenotype. Long-term bone marrow cultures (LTBMCs) were established at either day 60 or one year after 8 Gy TBI. In freshly removed marrow at both times after irradiation, there were increased senescent cells. In LTBMCs, there were increased senescent cells in both weekly harvested single cells and in colonies of multilineage hematopoietic progenitor cells producing CFU-GEMM (colony forming unit-granulocyte, erythrocyte, monocyte/macrophage, mega-karyocyte) that were formed in secondary cultures when these single cells were plated in semisolid media. LTBMCs from TBI mice produced fewer CFU-GEMM; however, the relative percentage of senescent cell-containing colonies was increased as measured by both p16-luciferase and β-galactosidase. Therefore, 20 Gy thoracic radiation, as well as 8 Gy TBI, induces senescent cells in the lungs. With bone marrow, 8 Gy TBI induced senescence in both hematopoietic cells and in colony-forming progenitors. The p16+/LUC mouse strain provides a valuable system in which to compare the kinetics of radiation-induced senescence between organs in vivo, and to evaluate the potential role of senescent cells in irradiation pulmonary fibrosis.