T. Ebrahimian, C. Le Gallic, J. Stefani, I. Dublineau, R. Yentrapalli, M. Harms-Ringdahl, and S. Haghdoost (2015) Chronic Gamma-Irradiation Induces a Dose-Rate-Dependent Pro-inflammatory Response and Associated Loss of Function in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells. Radiation Research In-Press.


A central question in radiation protection research is dose and dose-rate relationship for radiation-induced cardiovascular diseases. The response of endothelial cells to different low dose rates may contribute to help estimate risks for cardiovascular diseases by providing mechanistic understanding. In this study we investigated whether chronic low-dose-rate radiation exposure had an effect on the inflammatory response of endothelial cells and their function. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were chronically exposed to radiation at a dose of 1.4 mGy/h or 4.1 mGy/h for 1, 3, 6 or 10 weeks. We determined the pro-inflammatory profile of HUVECs before and during radiation exposure, and investigated the functional consequences of this radiation exposure by measuring their capacity to form vascular networks in matrigel. Expression levels of adhesion molecules such as E-selectin, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as MCP-1, IL-6 and TNF-α were analyzed. When a total dose of 2 Gy was given at a rate of 4.1 mGy/h, we observed an increase in IL-6 and MCP-1 release into the cell culture media, but this was not observed at 1.4 mGy/h. The increase in the inflammatory profile induced at the dose rate of 4.1 mGy/h was also correlated with a decrease in the capacity of the HUVECs to form a vascular network in matrigel. Our results suggest that dose rate is an important parameter in the alteration of HUVEC inflammatory profile and function.