Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor I protect intestinal cells from radiation induced apoptosis

Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
P G MylonasT K Alexandrides


We studied whether programmed cell death (or apoptosis) is the predominant mechanism in radiation-induced cell damage to rat intestinal mucosa and investigated the mechanism of the protective effect of GH and IGF-I in the same model. Male albino Wistar rats were divided into four groups: controls, radiation, radiation plus GH and radiation plus IGF-I. Radiation was administered on the first day and on day 4. All animals were sacrificed and segments of the terminal ileum were stained with hematoxylin-eosin. Apoptosis of the epithelial cells was identified at the cellular level by the TUNEL stain and was distinguished from necrosis by the characteristic morphology of the cells (cytoplasmic shrinkage, marginal chromatin condensation and generation of nuclear apoptotic bodies). Apoptotic cells in the control animals were few and detected only at the tips of the villi while in the irradiated animals almost all the epithelial cells were apoptotic, distributed from the crypts to the tips of the villi and the mucosa showed severe epithelial atrophy and ulceration. The histologic picture of the mucosa in the GH and IGF-I treated animals was similar to normal controls and apoptotic cells were restricted only at the tips of the villi. DNA...Continue Reading


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Apoptosis is a specific process that leads to programmed cell death through the activation of an evolutionary conserved intracellular pathway leading to pathognomic cellular changes distinct from cellular necrosis

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