The rat acute-phase protein alpha(2)-macroglobulin plays a central role in amifostine-mediated radioprotection
Grigorov, Ilijana I
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Previously we reported that elevated circulating concentrations of the acute-phase (AP) protein alpha(2)-macroglobulin (alpha M-2), either as typically occurring in pregnant female rats or after administration to male rats, provides radioprotection, displayed as 100% survival of experimental animals exposed to total-body irradiation with 6.7 Gy (LD50/30) x-rays, that is as effective as that afforded by the synthetic radioprotector amifostine. The finding that amifostine administration induces a 45-fold increase in alpha M-2 in the circulation led us to hypothesise that alpha M-2 assumes an essential role in both natural and amifostine-mediated radioprotection in the rat. In the present work we examined the activation of cytoprotective mechanisms in rat hepatocytes after the exogenous administration of alpha M-2 and amifostine. Our results showed that the IL6/JAK/STAT3 hepatoprotective signal pathway, described in a variety of liver-injury models, upregulated the alpha M-2 gene in amifostine-pretreated animals. In both alpha M-2- and amifostine-pretreated rats we observed the activation of the Akt signalling pathways that mediate cellular survival. At the cellular level this was reflected as a significant reduction of irradiation-induced DNA damage that allowed for the rapid and complete restoration of liver mass and ultimately at the level of the whole organism the complete restoration of body weight. We conclude that the selective upregulation of alpha M-2 plays a central role in amifostine-provided radioprotection.