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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 123241, 9 pages
Review Article

Inflammation and Immunity in Radiation Damage to the Gut Mucosa

Laboratory of Radiopathology and Experimental Therapeutics, Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, 31 Avenue de la Division Leclerc, 92262 Fontenay-aux-Roses, France

Received 30 October 2012; Accepted 18 February 2013

Academic Editor: Silvia Gregori

Copyright © 2013 Agnès François et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Erythema was observed on the skin of the first patients treated with radiation therapy. It is in particular to reduce this erythema, one feature of tissue inflammation, that prescribed dose to the tumor site started to be fractionated. It is now well known that radiation exposure of normal tissues generates a sustained and apparently uncontrolled inflammatory process. Radiation-induced inflammation is always observed, often described, sometimes partly explained, but still today far from being completely understood. The thing with the gut and especially the gut mucosa is that it is at the frontier between the external milieu and the organism, is in contact with a plethora of commensal and foreign antigens, possesses a dense-associated lymphoid tissue, and is particularly radiation sensitive because of a high mucosal turnover rate. All these characteristics make the gut mucosa a strong responsive organ in terms of radiation-induced immunoinflammation. This paper will focus on what has been observed in the normal gut and what remains to be done concerning the immunoinflammatory response following localized radiation exposure.