The goal of these studies was to characterize the infiltrating inflammatory cells during pneumonitis caused by moderate doses of radiation. Two groups of male rats (WAG/RijCmcr, 8 weeks old) were treated with single 10-or 15-Gy doses of thoracic X radiation; a third group of age-matched animals served as controls. Only 25 rats survived the 15-Gy dose. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and whole lung mounts were subjected to cytological and histological evaluation after 8 weeks for distribution of resident macrophages, neutrophils, lymphocytes and mast cells. There was a modest increase in airway and airspace-associated neutrophils in lungs from rats receiving 15 Gy. Mast cells (detected by immunohistochemistry for tryptase) increased over 70 with 10 Gy and over 13-fold after 15 Gy, with considerable leakage of tryptase into blood vessels and airways. Circulating levels of eight inflammatory cytokines were not altered after 10 Gy but appeared to decrease after 15 Gy. In summary, there were only modest increases in cellular inflammatory infiltrate during pneumonitis after a non-lethal dose of 10 Gy, but there was a dramatic rise in mast cell infiltration after 15 Gy, suggesting that circulating levels of mast cell products may be useful markers of severe pneumonitis.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.