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Introduction: Radiation therapy for lung cancer causes pneumonitis and fibrosis. Soy isoflavones protect against radiation-induced lung injury, but the mediators of radio- protection remain unclear. We investigated the effect of radiation on myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the lung and their modulation by soy isoflavones for a potential role in protection from radiation-induced lung injury.

Methods: BALB/c mice (5–6 weeks old) received a single 10 Gy dose of thoracic irra- diation and soy isoflavones were orally administrated daily before and after radiation at 1 mg/day. Arginase-1 (Arg-1) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) p65 were detected in lung tissue by western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. Lung MDSC subsets and their Arg-1 expression were analyzed by flow cytometry. Cytokine levels in the lungs were measured by ELISA.

Results: At 1 week after radiation, CD11b+ cells expressing Arg-1 were decreased by radiation in lung tissue yet maintained in the lungs treated with radiation and soy isoflavones. Arg-1 was predominantly expressed by CD11b+Ly6ClowLy6G+ granulocytic MDSCs (gr-MDSCs). Arg-1 expression in gr-MDSCs was reduced by radiation and preserved by supplementation with soy isoflavones. A persistent increase in Arg-1+ cells was observed in lung tissue treated with combined radiation and soy isoflavones at early and late time points, compared to radiation alone. The increase in Arg-1 expression mediated by soy isoflavones could be associated with the inhibition of radiation-induced activation of NF-κB and the control of pro-inflammatory cytokine production demon- strated in this study.

Conclusion: A radioprotective mechanism of soy isoflavones may involve the promotion of Arg-1-expressing gr-MDSCs that could play a role in downregulation of inflammation and lung radioprotection.


Oncology | Radiology