Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy reveals metabolic changes in living cardiomyocytes after low doses of ionizing radiation

  • Michalina Gramatyka
  • Agnieszka Skorupa
  • Maria Sokół


Several lines of evidence indicate that exposure of heart to ionizing radiation increases the risk of cardiotoxicity manifested by heart dysfunction and cardiovascular diseases. It was initially believed that the heart is an organ relatively resistant to radiation. Currently, however, it is suspected that even low doses of radiation (< 2 Gy) may have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system. Cardiotoxicity of ionizing radiation is associated with metabolic changes observed in cardiac cells injured by radiation. In this study we used human cardiomyocytes as a model system, and studied their metabolic response to radiation using high resolution magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance techniques (HR MAS NMR).

Cultured in vitro human cardiomyocytes were exposed to ionizing radiation and their survival was assessed by clonogenic assay. Changes in apoptosis intensity and cell cycle distribution after irradiation were measured as well. NMR spectra of cardiomyocytes were acquired using Bruker Avance 400 MHz spectrometer at a spinning rate of 3200 Hz. Survival of cardiomyocytes after NMR experiments was assessed by the Trypan blue exclusion assay.

Exposure of cardiomyocytes to small doses of ionizing radiation had no effect on cell proliferation potential and intensity of cell death. However, analysis of metabolic profiles revealed changes in lipids, threonine, glycine, choline, valine, isoleucine, glutamate, reduced glutathione and taurine metabolism. The results of this study show that ionizing radiation affects metabolic profiles of cardiomyocytes even at low doses, which potentially have no effect on cell viability.


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