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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 4135806, 10 pages
Research Article

Irradiated Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells Undergo Endothelial-Mesenchymal Transition via the Snail/miR-199a-5p Axis to Promote the Differentiation of Fibroblasts into Myofibroblasts

Department of Oncology, Tongji Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Xianglin Yuan; nc.moc.liamdem@lxy

Received 27 October 2017; Revised 9 January 2018; Accepted 17 January 2018; Published 12 February 2018

Academic Editor: Paolo Spagnolo

Copyright © 2018 Minxiao Yi 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 pulmonary fibrosis (RIPF) is one of the major side effects of radiotherapy for lung cancer. Previous studies have shown that endothelial cells and activated myofibroblasts play a key role in RIPF. However, the interaction between irradiated endothelial cells and activation of myofibroblasts has not been reported. The aim of the present study was to examine whether irradiated endothelial cells would affect the differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts in the process of RIPF. In the current study, we used a coculture system that allowed direct contact between human fetal lung fibroblasts (MRC-5) and irradiated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). After 24 or 48 h, cells were sorted by flow cytometry. Radiation induced endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) by significantly increasing the expression of Snail and vimentin and reducing the expression of CD31 in HUVECs. In addition, irradiation of HUVECs induced the expression of collagen type I and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in MRC-5 cells. Further investigation indicated that irradiation of HUVECs induced the differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts through the Snail/miR-199a-5p axis. We conclude that irradiated endothelial cells undergo EndMT to promote differentiation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts via the Snail/miR-199a-5p axis.