Radiation-Induced Teratogenic Effects in Fetal Mice with VaryingTrp53Function: Influence of Prior Heat Stress
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Teratogenesis induced by radiation in fetal mice has been closely linked to Trp53-dependent apoptosis. This study examined teratogenesis in tails and limb digits of fetal mice with varying Trp53 status after a 4-Gy radiation exposure, with and without a prior 40.5 degrees C, 60-min heat stress. Irradiation earlier in gestation (day 11) produced greater effects than later (day 12) exposure, but in both cases the maximum teratogenic effect of radiation occurred in Trp53 normal fetuses, the minimum in Trp53 null fetuses, and intermediate effects in Trp53 heterozygotes, indicating dominance of Trp53-dependent apoptosis. Heat stress 24 h prior to irradiation on day 11 did not alter the teratogenic effects in Trp53 normal or heterozygous fetuses, but it reduced effects in the Trp53 null fetuses. Conversely, heat stress immediately before irradiation on day 11 amplified teratogenesis in Trp53 null fetuses, still with only a small or no effect on fetuses with full or partial Trp53 function, respectively. These results indicate little effect of mild heat on Trp53-dependent apoptosis after irradiation, but they also suggest heat-induced amplification of Trp53-independent processes that led to apoptosis when heat was delivered near the time of radiation exposure, and heat-induced protection of that process when sufficient expression time was allowed. However, Trp53-dependent apoptosis, when functional, acted as the ultimate determinant of radiation-induced teratogenic effects during early organogenesis. On gestation day 12, radiation effects were diminished, but heat stress 24 h prior to radiation exposure had a large amplifying effect in Trp53 normal or heterozygous fetuses. In the absence of functional Trp53, the sensitizing effect of the heat was diminished. The results may suggest that at later times in organ development, DNA repair is more active, allowing some cells to escape radiation-induced Trp53-dependent apoptosis. However, heat may be able to significantly inhibit this active repair and increase the teratogenic effect of radiation. A diminished effect in the absence of functional Trp53 is consistent with an influence of heat on inhibiting DNA repair, but with a diminished probability of apoptosis.
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