Acute injury to the intestinal mucosa is a major dose-limiting complication of abdominal radiation therapy. We studied the role of the transcription factor NF-κB in protection against radiation-induced apoptosis in the intestinal epithelium in vivo. We use mice in which NF-κB signaling through IκB-kinase (IKK)-β is selectively ablated in intestinal epithelial cells to show that failure to activate epithelial cell NF-κB in vivo results in a significant increase in radiation-induced epithelial cell apoptosis. Furthermore, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, which is normally a radioprotective agent, is radiosensitizing in IKKβ-deficient intestinal epithelial cells. Increased apoptosis in IKKβ-deficient intestinal epithelial cells was accompanied by increased expression and activation of the tumor suppressor p53 and decreased expression of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. These results demonstrate the physiological importance of the NF-κB system in protection against radiation-induced death in the intestinal epithelium in vivo and identify IKKβ as a key molecular target for radioprotection in the intestine. Selective preactivation of NF-κB through IKKβ in intestinal epithelial cells could provide a therapeutic modality that allows higher doses of radiation to be tolerated during cancer radiotherapy.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2004 Feb 22|
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