The age-dependent effect of high-dose X-ray radiation on NFκB signaling, structure, and mechanical behavior of the intervertebral disc

Jennifer W. Liu, Sytse Piersma, Simon Y. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Ionizing radiation damages tissue and provokes inflammatory responses in multiple organ systems. We investigated the effects of high-dose X-ray radiation on the molecular inflammation and mechanical function of the intervertebral disc (IVD). Methods: Functional spine units (FSUs) containing the vertebrae-IVDs-vertebrae structure extracted from 1-month, 6-month, and 16-month-old NFκB-luciferase reporter mice and from 6-month-old myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88)-null mice. After a preconditioning period in culture, the FSUs were subjected a single dose of ionizing X-ray radiation at 20 Gys, and then NFκB expression was monitored. The IVDs were then subjected to mechanical testing using dynamic compression, glycosaminoglycan (GAG) quantification, and histological analyses. Results: In the 1-month-old FSUs, the NFκB-driven luciferase activity was significantly elevated for 1 day following the exposure to radiation. The 6-month-old FSUs showed increased NFκB activity for 3 days, while the 16-month-old FSUs sustained elevated levels of NFκB activity throughout the 10-day culture period. All irradiated groups showed significant loss of disc height, GAG content, mechanical function and changes in structure. Ablation of MyD88 blunted the radiation-mediated NFκB signaling, and preserved GAG content, and the IVDs’ structure and mechanical performance. Conclusions: These results suggest that high-dose radiation affects the IVDs’ NFκB-dependent inflammatory processes that subsequently lead to functional deterioration. Blocking the transactivation potential of NFκB via MyD88 ablation preserved the structure and mechanical function of the FSUs. The long-term effects of radiation on IVD homeostasis should be considered in individuals susceptible to occupational and medical exposure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalConnective Tissue Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Inflammation
  • Intervertebral disc
  • Ionizing radiation
  • NFκB
  • degeneration
  • organ culture

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