Akt1/NFκB signaling pathway activation by a small molecule DMA confers radioprotection to intestinal epithelium in xenograft model

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Normal tissue protection and recovery of radiation-induced damage are of paramount importance for development of radioprotector. Radioprotector which selectively protects normal tissues over cancerous tissues improves the therapeutic window of radiation therapy. In the present study, small bisbenzimidazole molecule, DMA (5-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)-2-[2′-(3,4-dimethoxy-phenyl)-5′-benzimidazolyl]-benzimidazole) was evaluated for in vivo radioprotective effects to selectively protect normal tissue over tumor with underlying molecular mechanism. Administration of single DMA dose prior to radiation has enhanced survival of Balb/c mice against sublethal and supralethal total body irradiation. DMA ameliorated radiation-induced damage of normal tissues such as hematopoietic (HP) and gastrointestinal tract (GI) system. Oxidative stress marker Malondialdehyde level was decreased by DMA whereas it maintained endogenous antioxidant status by increasing the level of reduced glutathione, glutathione reductase, glutathione-s-transferase, superoxide dismutase and total thiol content in hepatic tissue of irradiated mice. Mechanistic studies revealed that DMA treatment prior to radiation leads to Akt1/NFκB signaling which reduced radiation-induced genomic instability in normal cells. However, these pathways were not activated in tumor tissues when subjected to DMA treatment in similar conditions. Abrogation of Akt1 and NFκB genes resulted in no radioprotection by DMA and enhanced apoptosis against radiation. Plasma half-life of DMA was 3.5 h and 2.65 h at oral and intravenous dose respectively and 90% clearance was observed in 16 h. In conclusion, these data suggests that DMA has potential to be developed as a safe radioprotective agent for radiation countermeasures and an adjuvant in cancer therapy.

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