There is evidence for a role of ionizing radiation in cardiovascular diseases. The goal of this work was to identify changes in oxidative and nitrative stress pathways and the status of the endothelinergic system during progression of atherosclerosis in ApoE-deficient mice after single and repeated exposure to ionizing radiation.
B6.129P2-ApoE tmlUnc mice on a low-fat diet were acutely exposed (whole body) to Co60 (γ) (single dose 0, 0.5, and 2 Gy) at a dose rate of 36.32 cGy/min, or repeatedly (cumulative dose 0 and 2 Gy) at a dose-rate of 0.1 cGy/min for 5 d/wk, over a period of 4 weeks. Biological endpoints were investigated after 3–6 months of recovery post-radiation. The nitrative stress marker 3-nitrotyrosine and the vasoregulator peptides endothelin-1 and endothelin-3 in plasma were increased (p<0.05) in a dose-dependent manner 3–6 months after acute or chronic exposure to radiation. The oxidative stress marker 8-isoprostane was not affected by radiation, while plasma 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine and L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine decreased (p<0.05) after treatment. At 2Gy radiation dose, serum cholesterol was increased (p = 0.008) relative to controls. Percent lesion area increased (p = 0.005) with age of animal, but not with radiation treatment.