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Increased Expression of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Human Epidermal Keratinocytes after Exposure to Ionizing Radiation

Ralf U. Peter, Axel Beetz, Christine Ried, Günter Michel, Dirk van Beuningen and Thomas Ruzicka
Radiation Research
Vol. 136, No. 1 (Oct., 1993), pp. 65-70
DOI: 10.2307/3578641
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3578641
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Increased Expression of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Human Epidermal Keratinocytes after Exposure to Ionizing Radiation
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Abstract

The effect of exposure of human epidermal keratinocytes to ionizing radiation, both in vivo and in vitro, on the expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) was studied on the protein, mRNA, and functional levels. Quantitative fluorometry of short-term organ cultures incubated with a monoclonal antibody against human EGF-R revealed a dose-dependent increase of EGF-R expression 24 h after irradiation with 4 and 6 Gy, with an additional increase after 48 h. In biopsy specimens from patients undergoing radiation therapy a markedly increased expression could be determined by quantitative fluorometry during radiation therapy which was still considerably above the baseline level 4 weeks after termination of treatment. Radioligand binding assays demonstrated a 50% increase in 125 I- EGF binding to primary keratinocytes and A431 cells, at doses of 1 Gy, with a further increase after 72 and 96 h. Northern blots were performed with total RNA from two human epidermal cell lines (SCLII and A431). In A431 cells, increased EGF-R transcript levels could be detected 48 h after irradiation. In cells of the SCLII cell line, EGF-R expression was not affected by irradiation. These results were confirmed by semiquantitative polymerase chain reaction of primary cultured keratinocytes, demonstrating an increase of transcripts of EGF-R 24 h after irradiation with single doses of 6 Gy. Thus exposure to ionizing radiation leads to an increased expression of functionally intact EGF-R in human keratinocytes, at the protein and mRNA levels, both in vitro and in vivo; we hypothesize that this effect is part of a stress program of epidermal cells in response to ionizing radiation, ensuring rapid repopulation of irradiated areas.

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