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Ionizing Radiation Increases the Activity of Exosomal Secretory Pathway in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells: A Possible Way to Communicate Resistance against Radiotherapy

Journal article
Authors N. Jabbari
Muhammad Nawaz
J. Rezaie
Published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume 20
Issue 15
ISSN 1661-6596
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Language en
Keywords exosomes, ionizing radiation, X-ray, MCF-7 cells, breast cancer, extracellular vesicles, tumor biology, in-vitro, mechanisms, stress, death, DNA, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Chemistry
Subject categories Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Radiation therapy, which applies high-energy rays, to eradicate tumor cells, is considered an essential therapy for the patients with breast cancer. Most tumor cells secrete exosomes, which are involved in cell-to-cell communication in tumor tissue and contribute therapeutic resistance and promote tumor aggressiveness. Here, we investigated the effect of clinically applicable doses of X-ray irradiation (2, 4, 6, 8, 10 Gy) on the dynamics of the exosomes' activity in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Survival and apoptosis rate of cells against X-ray doses was examined using MTT and flow cytometry assays, respectively. Whereas, the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the X-ray-treated cells were detected by fluorometric method. The mRNA levels of vital genes involved in exosome biogenesis and secretion including Alix, Rab11, Rab27a, Rab27b, TSPA8, and CD63 were measured by real-time PCR. The protein level of CD63 was examined by Western blotting. Additionally, exosomes were characterized by monitoring acetylcholinesterase activity, transmission electron microscopy, size determination, and zeta potential. The result showed that in comparison with control group cell survival and the percentage of apoptotic cells as well as amount of ROS dose-dependently decreased and increased in irradiated cells respectively (p < 0.05). The expression level of genes including Alix, Rab27a, Rab27b, TSPA8, and CD63 as well as the protein level of CD63 upraised according to an increase in X-ray dose (p < 0.05). We found that concurrent with an increasing dose of X-ray, the acetylcholinesterase activity, size, and zeta-potential values of exosomes from irradiated cells increased (p < 0.05). Data suggest X-ray could activate exosome biogenesis and secretion in MCF-7 cells in a dose-dependent way, suggesting the therapeutic response of cells via ROS and exosome activity.

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