Tetrahydrobiopterin Protects against Radiation-induced Growth Inhibition in H9c2 Cardiomyocytes

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Background:Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is an essential cofactor of nitric oxide synthases (NOSs) for the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO). BH4 therapy can reverse the disease-related redox disequilibrium observed with BH4 deficiency. However, whether BH4 exerts a protective effect against radiation-induced damage to cardiomyocytes remains unknown.Methods:Clonogenic assays were performed to determine the effects of X-ray on H9c2 cells with or without BH4 treatment. The contents of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and malondialdehyde (MDA) in H9c2 cells were measured to investigate oxidative stress levels. The cell cycle undergoing radiation with or without BH4 treatment was detected using flow cytometry. The expression levels of proteins in the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/P53 signaling pathway, inducible NOS (iNOS), and endothelial NOS (eNOS) were examined using Western blotting.Results:X-ray radiation significantly inhibited the growth of H9c2 cells in a dose-dependent manner, whereas BH4 treatment significantly reduced the X-ray radiation-induced growth inhibition (control group vs. X-ray groups, respectively, P < 0.01). X-ray radiation induced LDH release, apoptosis, and G0/G1 peak accumulation, significantly increasing the level of MDA and the production of NO, and decreased the level of SOD (control group vs. X-ray groups, respectively, P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). By contrast, BH4 treatment can significantly reverse these processes (BH4 treatment groups vs. X-ray groups, P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). BH4 reversed the X-ray radiation-induced expression alterations of apoptosis-related molecules, including B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2 associated X protein, and caspase-3, and molecules of the PI3K/Akt/P53 signaling pathway. BH4 enhanced the production of NO in 2 Gy and 4 Gy radiated groups by upregulating eNOS protein expression and downregulating iNOS protein expression.Conclusions:BH4 treatment can protect against X-ray-induced cardiomyocyte injury, possibly by recoupling eNOS rather than iNOS. BH4 treatment also decreased oxidative stress in radiated H9c2 cells.

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