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Open Access Research

Effects of external radiation in a co-culture model of endothelial cells and adipose-derived stem cells

Frank Haubner1*, Michaela Leyh1, Elisabeth Ohmann1, Fabian Pohl2, Lukas Prantl3 and Holger G Gassner1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Division of Facial Plastic Surgery, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

2 Department of Radiotherapy, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

3 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:66  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-66

Published: 20 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The inflammatory response clinically observed after radiation has been described to correlate with elevated expression of cytokines and adhesion molecules by endothelial cells. Therapeutic compensation for this microvascular compromise could be an important approach in the treatment of irradiated wounds. Clinical reports describe the potential of adipose-derived stem cells to enhance wound healing, but the underlying cellular mechanisms remain largely unclear.

Methods

Human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC) and human adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) were cultured in a co-culture setting and irradiated with sequential doses of 2 to 12 Gy. Cell count was determined 48 h after radiation using a semi-automated cell counting system. Levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) were determined in the supernatants using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Irradiated HDMEC and ASC as well as non-irradiated co-cultures, HDMEC or ASC respectively were used as controls.

Results

Cell count was significantly reduced in irradiated co-cultures of HDMEC and ASC compared to non-irradiated controls. Levels of IL-6, FGF, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in the supernatants of the co-cultures were significantly less affected by external radiation in comparison to HDMEC.

Conclusion

The increased expression of cytokines and adhesion molecules by HDMEC after external radiation is mitigated in the co-culture setting with ASC. These in vitro changes seem to support the clinical observation that ASC may have a stabilizing effect when injected into irradiated wounds.