BACKGROUND/AIM: Radiation-induced heart disease (RIHD) is a concern during radiotherapy.
For its comprehensive study, an in vivo selective heart irradiation model was developed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were irradiated with 50 Gy and functional
imaging, biochemical (circulating growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15), transforming
growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and morphological (picrosirius red staining of the heart)
objectives were tested. RESULTS: Signs and symptoms of RIHD occurred >12 weeks after
irradiation with tachypnea, systolic and diastolic dysfunction, cardiac hypertrophy
and body development retardation. Plasma GDF-15 was increased 3, 12 and 26, while
plasma TGF-beta was increased 12 weeks after irradiation. At autopsy, extensive pleural
fluid was found in the irradiated animals. Interstitial fibrosis could be reliably
detected and quantified in irradiated hearts after a follow-up time of 19 weeks. CONCLUSION:
The studied parameters could be used in future experiments for testing protective
agents for prevention of radiation heart injury.