Schütze A, Wirsdörfer F, Stuschke M, de Leve S, Fischer JW, Thompson LF, Röck K, Jendrossek V, Cappuccini F, Meyer AV
While radiotherapy is a mainstay for cancer therapy, pneumonitis and fibrosis constitute dose-limiting side effects of thorax and whole body irradiation. So far, the contribution of immune cells to disease progression is largely unknown. Here we studied the role of ecto-5'-nucelotidase (CD73)/adenosine-induced changes in the myeloid compartment in radiation-induced lung fibrosis. C57BL/6 wild-type or CD73-/- mice received a single dose of whole thorax irradiation (WTI, 15 Gy). Myeloid cells were characterized in flow cytometric, histologic, and immunohistochemical analyses as well as RNA analyses. WTI induced a pronounced reduction of alveolar macrophages in both strains that recovered within 6 wk. Fibrosis development in wild-type mice was associated with a time-dependent deposition of hyaluronic acid (HA) and increased expression of markers for alternative activation on alveolar macrophages. These include the antiinflammatory macrophage mannose receptor and arginase-1. Further, macrophages accumulated in organized clusters and expressed profibrotic mediators at ≥25 wk after irradiation (fibrotic phase). Irradiated CD73-/- mice showed an altered regulation of components of the HA system and no clusters of alternatively activated macrophages. We speculate that accumulation of alternatively activated macrophages in organized clusters represents the origins of fibrotic foci after WTI and is promoted by a cross-talk between HA, CD73/adenosine signaling, and other profibrotic mediators.-De Leve, S., Wirsdörfer, F., Cappuccini, F., Schütze, A., Meyer, A. V., Röck, K., Thompson, L. F., Fischer, J. W., Stuschke, M., Jendrossek, V. Loss of CD73 prevents accumulation of alternatively activated macrophages and the formation of prefibrotic macrophage clusters in irradiated lungs.