Molecular Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 210–218 | Cite as

Role of Interleukin-1 in Radiation-Induced Cardiomyopathy

  • Eleonora Mezzaroma
  • Ross B. Mikkelsen
  • Stefano Toldo
  • Adolfo G. Mauro
  • Khushboo Sharma
  • Carlo Marchetti
  • Asim Alam
  • Benjamin W. Van Tassell
  • David A. Gewirtz
  • Antonio Abbate
Research Article


Thoracic X-ray therapy (XRT), used in cancer treatment, is associated with increased risk of heart failure. XRT-mediated injury to the heart induces an inflammatory response leading to cardiomyopathy. The aim of this study was to determine the role of inter-leukin (IL)-1 in response to XRT injury to the heart and on the cardiomyopathy development in the mouse. Female mice with genetic deletion of the IL-1 receptor type I (IL-1R1 knockout mice [IL-1R1 KO]) and treatment with recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist anakinra, 10 mg/kg twice daily for 7 d, were used as independent approaches to determine the role of IL-1. Wild-type (wt) or IL-1R1 KO mice were treated with a single session of XRT (20 or 14 gray [Gy]). Echocardiography (before and after isoproterenol challenge) and left ventricular (LV) catheterization were performed to evaluate changes in LV dimensions and function. Masson’s trichrome was used to assess myocardial fibrosis and pericardial thickening. After 20 Gy, the contractile reserve was impaired in wt mice at d 3, and the LV ejection fraction (EF) was reduced after 4 months when compared with sham-XRT. IL-1R1 KO mice had preserved contractile reserve at 3 d and 4 months and LVEF at 4 months after XRT. Anakinra treatment for 1 d before and 7 d after XRT prevented the impairment in contractile reserve. A significant increase in LV end-diastolic pressure, associated with increased myocardial interstitial fibrosis and pericardial thickening, was observed in wt mice, as well as in IL-1R1 KO-or anakinra-treated mice. In conclusion, induction of IL-1 by XRT mediates the development of some, such as the contractile impairment, but not all aspects of the XRT-induced cardiomyopathy, such as myocardial fibrosis or pericardial thickening.



The study was founded by a Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Pilot Research Study Award to A Abbate, by an explorative/development grant by the National Institute of Research to A Abbate and DA Gewirtz (ID 1R21CA171974-01A1), and by the American Heart Association with a Postdoctoral Fellowship grant to E Mezzaroma (ID 12POST11940005). DA Gewirtz was supported by an Institutional Research Grant (IRG-14-192-40) from the American Cancer Society. RB Mikkelsen was funded by National Institutes of Health grant 5U19AI10910361, University of Rochester Center for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material, approximately 416 KB.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleonora Mezzaroma
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ross B. Mikkelsen
    • 4
  • Stefano Toldo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adolfo G. Mauro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Khushboo Sharma
    • 5
  • Carlo Marchetti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Asim Alam
    • 4
  • Benjamin W. Van Tassell
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David A. Gewirtz
    • 5
  • Antonio Abbate
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Pauley Heart CenterRichmondUSA
  2. 2.VCU Victoria Johnson CenterRichmondUSA
  3. 3.School of Pharmacy, VCURichmondUSA
  4. 4.Radiation OncologyMassey Cancer Center, VCURichmondUSA
  5. 5.Pharmacology and ToxicologyMassey Cancer Center, VCURichmondUSA

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