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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 1948985, 11 pages
Research Article

Mesenchymal Stem Cells Attenuate Radiation-Induced Brain Injury by Inhibiting Microglia Pyroptosis

1Department of Neurology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
2Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
3Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau

Correspondence should be addressed to Ying Peng; moc.361@321ygnepcod

Huan Liao and Hongxuan Wang contributed equally to this work.

Received 19 July 2017; Accepted 8 November 2017; Published 7 December 2017

Academic Editor: Nobuo Kanazawa

Copyright © 2017 Huan Liao 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.


Radiation-induced brain injury (RI) commonly occurs in patients who received head and neck radiotherapy. However, the mechanism of RI remains unclear. We aimed to evaluate whether pyroptosis was involved in RI and the impact of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on it. BALB/c male mice (6–8 weeks) were cranially irradiated (15 Gy), and MSCs were transplanted into the bilateral cortex 2 days later; then mice were sacrificed 1 month later. Meanwhile, irradiated BV-2 microglia cells (10 Gy) were cocultured with MSCs for 24 hours. We observed that irradiated mice brains presented NLRP3 and caspase-1 activation. RT-PCR then indicated that it mainly occurred in microglia cells but not in neurons. Further, irradiated BV-2 cells showed pyroptosis and increased production of IL-18 and IL-1β. RT-PCR also demonstrated an increased expression of several inflammasome genes in irradiated BV-2 cells, including NLRP3 and AIM2. Particularly, NLRP3 was activated. Knockdown of NLRP3 resulted in decreased LDH release. Noteworthily, in vivo, MSCs transplantation alleviated radiation-induced NLRP3 and caspase-1 activation. Moreover, in vitro, MSCs could decrease caspase-1 dependent pyroptosis, NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and ROS production induced by radiation. Thus, our findings proved that microglia pyroptosis occurred in RI. MSCs may act as a potent therapeutic tool in attenuating pyroptosis.