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Open Access Research

Exposure to ionizing radiation induced persistent gene expression changes in mouse mammary gland

Kamal Datta12*, Daniel R Hyduke1, Shubhankar Suman1, Bo-Hyun Moon1, Michael D Johnson2 and Albert J Fornace123

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology, Georgetown University, 3970 Reservoir Rd, Washington, DC, NW 20057-1468, USA

2 Lombardi Comprehensives Cancer Center, Georgetown University, 3970 Reservoir RD, Washington, DC, NW 20057, USA

3 Center of Excellence In Genomic Medicine Research (CEGMR), King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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Radiation Oncology 2012, 7:205  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-7-205

Published: 5 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Breast tissue is among the most sensitive tissues to the carcinogenic actions of ionizing radiation and epidemiological studies have linked radiation exposure to breast cancer. Currently, molecular understanding of radiation carcinogenesis in mammary gland is hindered due to the scarcity of in vivo long-term follow up data. We undertook this study to delineate radiation-induced persistent alterations in gene expression in mouse mammary glands 2-month after radiation exposure.

Methods

Six to eight week old female C57BL/6J mice were exposed to 2 Gy of whole body γ radiation and mammary glands were surgically removed 2-month after radiation. RNA was isolated and microarray hybridization performed for gene expression analysis. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) was used for biological interpretation of microarray data. Real time quantitative PCR was performed on selected genes to confirm the microarray data.

Results

Compared to untreated controls, the mRNA levels of a total of 737 genes were significantly (p<0.05) perturbed above 2-fold of control. More genes (493 genes; 67%) were upregulated than the number of downregulated genes (244 genes; 33%). Functional analysis of the upregulated genes mapped to cell proliferation and cancer related canonical pathways such as ‘ERK/MAPK signaling’, ‘CDK5 signaling’, and ‘14-3-3-mediated signaling’. We also observed upregulation of breast cancer related canonical pathways such as ‘breast cancer regulation by Stathmin1’, and ‘HER-2 signaling in breast cancer’ in IPA. Interestingly, the downregulated genes mapped to fewer canonical pathways involved in cell proliferation. We also observed that a number of genes with tumor suppressor function (GPRC5A, ELF1, NAB2, Sema4D, ACPP, MAP2, RUNX1) persistently remained downregulated in response to radiation exposure. Results from qRT-PCR on five selected differentially expressed genes confirmed microarray data. The PCR data on PPP4c, ELF1, MAPK12, PLCG1, and E2F6 showed similar trend in up and downregulation as has been observed with the microarray.

Conclusions

Exposure to a clinically relevant radiation dose led to long-term activation of mammary gland genes involved in proliferative and metabolic pathways, which are known to have roles in carcinogenesis. When considered along with downregulation of a number of tumor suppressor genes, our study has implications for breast cancer initiation and progression after therapeutic radiation exposure.

Keywords:
Radiation exposure; Mouse mammary gland; Gene expression; Persistent microarray changes.