We have previously reported the antimetastatic effects and augmentation of immune responses, which would be a mechanism of the antimetastatic effects, of 0.1 to 0.2 Gy total body irradiation. To elucidate the cellular mechanisms of the augmentation of immune response, we investigated the effects of low-dose irradiation on gene expression of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-6 using mouse peritoneal macrophages in vitro. Absolute mRNA quantification was carried out using competitive polymerase chain reaction. Gene expression of IL-1β and IL-6 was increased 1 to 2 hr after 2.0 Gy irradiation and then decreased to below the basal expression level 4 hr after irradiation. Irradiation with 0.1 Gy increased IL-6 expression 2 hr after irradiation, but it did not affect IL-1β expression. Downregulation of IL-1β and IL-6 observed 4 hr after 2.0 Gy irradiation was not observed with 0.1 Gy irradiation. The protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor H7 and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) inhibitor wortmannin inhibited induction of IL-1β and IL-6 expression, which suggests that radiation-induced IL-1β and IL-6 expression is achieved by PKC- and PI3-kinase-mediated signaling.
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