PloS one

Continuous Exposure to Low-Dose-Rate Gamma Irradiation Reduces Airway Inflammation in Ovalbumin-Induced Asthma.

PMID 26588845


Although safe doses of radiation have been determined, concerns about the harmful effects of low-dose radiation persist. In particular, to date, few studies have investigated the correlation between low-dose radiation and disease development. Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory airway disease that is recognized as a major public health problem. In this study, we evaluated the effects of low-dose-rate chronic irradiation on allergic asthma in a murine model. Mice were sensitized and airway-challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) and were exposed to continuous low-dose-rate irradiation (0.554 or 1.818 mGy/h) for 24 days after initial sensitization. The effects of chronic radiation on proinflammatory cytokines and the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) were investigated. Exposure to low-dose-rate chronic irradiation significantly decreased the number of inflammatory cells, methylcholine responsiveness (PenH value), and the levels of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E, interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-5. Furthermore, airway inflammation and the mucus production in lung tissue were attenuated and elevated MMP-9 expression and activity induced by OVA challenge were significantly suppressed. These results indicate that low-dose-rate chronic irradiation suppresses allergic asthma induced by OVA challenge and does not exert any adverse effects on asthma development. Our findings can potentially provide toxicological guidance for the safe use of radiation and relieve the general anxiety about exposure to low-dose radiation.

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