Targeting of cellular redox metabolism for mitigation of radiation injury.Life Sci. 2020 Jun 01; 250:117570.LS
Accidental exposure to ionizing radiation is a serious concern to human life. Studies on the mitigation of side effects following exposure to accidental radiation events are ongoing. Recent studies have shown that radiation can activate several signaling pathways, leading to changes in the metabolism of free radicals including reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO). Cellular and molecular mechanisms show that radiation can cause disruption of normal reduction/oxidation (redox) system. Mitochondria malfunction following exposure to radiation and mutations in mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) have a key role in chronic oxidative stress. Furthermore, exposure to radiation leads to infiltration of inflammatory cells such as macrophages, lymphocytes and mast cells, which are important sources of ROS and NO. These cells generate free radicals via upregulation of some pro-oxidant enzymes such as NADPH oxidases, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Epigenetic changes also have a key role in a similar way. Other mediators such as mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), which are involved in the normal metabolism of cells have also been shown to regulate cell death following exposure to radiation. These mechanisms are tissue specific. Inhibition or activation of each of these targets can be suggested for mitigation of radiation injury in a specific tissue. In the current paper, we review the cellular and molecular changes in the metabolism of cells and ROS/NO following exposure to radiation. Furthermore, the possible strategies for mitigation of radiation injury through modulation of cellular metabolism in irradiated organs will be discussed.