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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Hui-Kuo G. Shu; Email: hgshu@emory.edu (HGS) and Hyunsuk Shim; Email: hshim@emory.edu (HS)

Authors' Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: HGS, MR and HS.

Performed the experiments: HGS, YY, SH, KX, HG, ETG, CN and MR.

Analyzed the data: HGS, YY, SH, MR, HS and CH.

Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: HGS, MR and HS.

Wrote the manuscript: HGS and HS.

Acknowledgments: We thank Jessica Paulishen for careful reading of the manuscript and helpful remarks.

Disclosures: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Research Funding:

This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health grants RC1AI081273 and R21HL092518 (to HGS and HS).

Inhibition of the CXCL12/CXCR4-Axis as Preventive Therapy for Radiation-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis


Journal Title:



Volume 8, Number 11


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background A devastating late injury caused by radiation is pulmonary fibrosis. This risk may limit the volume of irradiation and compromise potentially curative therapy. Therefore, development of a therapy to prevent this toxicity can be of great benefit for this patient population. Activation of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 by its ligand stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1/CXCL12) may be important in the development of radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis. Here, we tested whether MSX-122, a novel small molecule and partial CXCR4 antagonist, can block development of this fibrotic process. Methodology/Principal Findings The radiation-induced lung fibrosis model used was C57BL/6 mice irradiated to the entire thorax or right hemithorax to 20 Gy. Our parabiotic model involved joining a transgenic C57BL/6 mouse expressing GFP with a wild-type mouse that was subsequently irradiated to assess for migration of GFP+ bone marrow-derived progenitor cells to the irradiated lung. CXCL12 levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and serum after irradiation were determined by ELISA. CXCR4 and CXCL12 mRNA in the irradiated lung was determined by RNase protection assay. Irradiated mice were treated daily with AMD3100, an established CXCR4 antagonist; MSX-122; and their corresponding vehicles to determine impact of drug treatment on fibrosis development. Fibrosis was assessed by serial CTs and histology. After irradiation, CXCL12 levels increased in BALF and serum with a corresponding rise in CXCR4 mRNA within irradiated lungs consistent with recruitment of a CXCR4+ cell population. Using our parabiotic model, we demonstrated recruitment of CXCR4+ bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, identified based on marker expression, to irradiated lungs. Finally, irradiated mice that received MSX-122 had significant reductions in development of pulmonary fibrosis while AMD3100 did not significantly suppress this fibrotic process. Conclusions/Significance CXCR4 inhibition by drugs such as MSX-122 may alleviate potential radiation-induced lung injury, presenting future therapeutic opportunities for patients requiring chest irradiation.

Copyright information:

© 2013 Shu et al.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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