Impairment of lymphatic endothelial barrier function by X-ray irradiation. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Although the microvascular system is a significant target for radiation-induced effects, the lymphatic response to radiation has not been extensively investigated. This is one of the first investigations characterizing the lymphatic endothelial response to ionizing radiation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Rat mesenteric lymphatic endothelial cells (RMLECs) were exposed to X-ray doses of 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2Gy. RMLEC cellular response was assessed 24 and 72-h post-irradiation via measures of cellular morphometry and junctional adhesion markers. RMLEC functional response was characterized through permeability experiments. RESULTS: Cell morphometry showed radiation sensitivity at all doses. Notably, there was a loss of cell-to-cell adhesion with irradiated cells increasing in size and cellular roundness. This was coupled with decreased -catenin and VE-cadherin intensity and altered F-actin anisotropy, leading to a loss of intercellular contact. RMLEC monolayers demonstrated increased permeability at all doses 24h post-irradiation and at 2-Gy 72h post-irradiation. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, lymphatics show radiation sensitivity in the context of these cell culture experiments. Our results may have functional implications of lymphatics in tissue, with endothelial barrier dysfunction due to loss of cell-cell adhesion leading to leaky vessels and lymphedema. These preliminary experiments will build the framework for future investigations towards lymphatic radiation exposure response.

published proceedings

  • Int J Radiat Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Narayanan, S. A., Ford, J., & Zawieja, D. C.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Narayanan, S Anand||Ford, John||Zawieja, David C

publication date

  • May 2019