Radiation oncology (London, England)

Ramipril mitigates radiation-induced impairment of neurogenesis in the rat dentate gyrus.

PMID 20122169


Sublethal doses of whole brain irradiation (WBI) are commonly administered therapeutically and frequently result in late delayed radiation injuries, manifesting as severe and irreversible cognitive impairment. Neural progenitors within the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus are among the most radiosensitive cell types in the adult brain and are known to participate in hippocampal plasticity and normal cognitive function. These progenitors and the specialized SZG microenvironment required for neuronal differentiation are the source of neurogenic potential in the adult dentate gyrus, and provide a continuous supply of immature neurons which may then migrate into the adjacent granule cell layer to become mature granule cell neurons. The extreme radiosensitivity of these progenitors and the SGZ microenvironment suggests the hippocampus as a prime target for radiation-induced cognitive impairment. The brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has previously been implicated as a potent modulator of neurogenesis within the SGZ and selective RAS inhibitors have been implicated as mitigators of radiation brain injury. Here we investigate the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, ramipril, as a mitigator of radiation injury in this context. Adult male Fisher 344 rats received WBI at doses of 10 Gy and 15 Gy. Ramipril was administered beginning 24 hours post-WBI and maintained continuously for 12 weeks. Ramipril produced small but significant reductions in the deleterious effects of radiation on progenitor proliferation and neuronal differentiation in the rat dentate gyrus following 10 Gy-WBI, but was not effective following 15 Gy-WBI. Ramipril also reduced the basal rate of neurogenesis within the SGZ in unirradiated control rats. Our results indicate that chronic ACE inhibition with ramipril, initiated 24 hours post-irradiation, may reduce apoptosis among SGZ progenitors and/or inflammatory disruption of neurogenic signaling within SGZ microenvironment, and suggest that angiotensin II may participate in maintaining the basal rate of granule cell neurogenesis.