The use of radiation therapy has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. To understand the mechanisms underlying radiation-induced vascular dysfunction, we employed two models. First, we examined the effect of X-ray irradiation on vasodilation in rabbit carotid arteries. Carotid arterial rings were irradiated with 8 or 16 Gy using in vivo and ex vivo methods. We measured the effect of acetylcholine-induced relaxation after phenylephrine-induced contraction on the rings. In irradiated carotid arteries, vasodilation was significantly attenuated by both irradiation methods. The relaxation response was completely blocked by 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3- a]quinoxalin-1-one, a potent inhibitor of soluble guanylate cyclase. Residual relaxation persisted after treatment with L-Nω-nitroarginine (L-NA), a non-specific inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), but disappeared following the addition of aminoguanidine (AG), a selective inhibitor of inducible NOS (iNOS). The relaxation response was also affected by tetraethylammonium, an inhibitor of endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor activity. In the second model, we investigated the biochemical events of nitrosative stress in human umbilical-vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). We measured iNOS and nitrotyrosine expression in HUVECs exposed to a dose of 4 Gy. The expression of iNOS and nitrotyrosine was greater in irradiated HUVECs than in untreated controls. Pretreatment with AG, L-N6-(1-iminoethyl) lysine hydrochloride (a selective inhibitor of iNOS), and L-NA attenuated nitrosative stress. While a selective target of radiation-induced vascular endothelial damage was not definitely determined, these results suggest that NO generated from iNOS could contribute to vasorelaxation. These studies highlight a potential role of iNOS inhibitors in ameliorating radiation-induced vascular endothelial damage.
- Inducible nitric oxide synthase
- Radiation injuries
- Vascular endothelium
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis