BACKGROUND: Radiosurgery is increasingly used to treat vestibular schwannomas (VSs). Increasing the sensitivity of VS cells to irradiation (IR) could allow for lower and/or more effective doses of IR, improving safety and efficacy. Persistent c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activity in VS cells reduces cell death by suppressing the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), raising the possibility that JNK activity protects against IR-induced VS cell death, which is mediated by ROS.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent to which JNK signaling contributes to VS cell radiosensitivity.
METHODS: Primary human VS cultures, derived from acutely resected tumors, received single doses (5-40 Gy) of gamma irradiation. Histone 2AX phosphorylation, a marker of IR-induced DNA damage, was assayed by Western blot and immunostaining. ROS levels were quantified by measuring 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2DCFDA) fluorescence. Cell apoptosis was determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase 2′-deoxyuridine, 5′-triphosphate nick end labeling.
RESULTS: The JNK inhibitors SP6000125 and I-JIP reduced histone 2AX phosphorylation after IR. They also increased H2DCFDA fluorescence in nonirradiated cultures and significantly increased IR-induced (5-10 Gy) H2DCFDA fluorescence 72 hours, but not 2 hours, after IR. Finally, I-JIP (50 μmol/L) significantly increased VS cell apoptosis in cultures treated with 20 to 40 Gy. I-JIP (20 μmol/L), SP600125 (20 μmol/L), and JNK1/2 short interfering RNA knockdown each increased VS cell apoptosis in cultures treated with 30 to 40 Gy, but not lower doses, of IR.
CONCLUSION: Inhibition of JNK signaling decreases histone 2AX phosphorylation and increases ROS and apoptosis in VS cells after gamma irradiation. These results raise the possibility of using JNK inhibitors to increase the effectiveness of radiosurgery for treatment of VSs.
ABBREVIATIONS: ATM, ataxia telangiectasia mutated
FRS, fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy
H2DCFDA, 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate
H2AX, histone 2AX
JNK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase
NF2, neurofibromatosis type 2
PBS, phosphate-buffered saline
ROS, reactive oxygen species
siRNA, small interfering RNA
SRS, stereotactic radiosurgery
TUNEL, deoxynucleotidyl transferase 2′-deoxyuridine, 5′-triphosphate nick end labeling
VS, vestibular schwannoma