Vascular endothelial cells can absorb higher radiation doses than any other tissue in the body, and post-radiation impaired endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) function may be developed as a potential contributor to the pathogenesis of vascular injury. In this study, we investigated early alterations of eNOS signaling in human umbilical venous endothelial cells (HUVECs) exposed to X-ray radiation. We found that ionizing radiation increased eNOS phosphorylation at Ser-1177 and dephosphorylation at Thr-495 in HUVECs in a dose-dependent (≤. 20. Gy) and time-dependent (6-72. h) manner. The total expression levels of eNOS were unchanged by radiation. Although a transient but significant increase in extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and a biphasic decline in Akt phosphorylation were observed after irradiation, these inhibitors were without effect on the radiation-induced changes in eNOS phosphorylation. There was an increase in protein kinase C-βII (PKC-βII) expression and the ablation of PKC-βII by small interfering RNA (siRNA) negated the radiation effect on the two eNOS phosphorylation events. Furthermore, when the radiation-induced increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was prevented by the anti-oxidant N-acetyl-. l-cysteine, eNOS Ser-1177 phosphorylation and Thr-495 dephosphorylation in irradiated HUVECs were significantly reduced. However, transfection of PKC-β siRNA did not alter ROS production after irradiation, and NAC failed to block the radiation-induced increase in PKC-βII expression. Taken together, our results suggest that ionizing radiation-induced eNOS activation in human vascular endothelial cells is attributed to both the up-regulation of PKC-βII and the increase in ROS generation which were independent of each other.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine