Yann [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Exposure to radiation harms the body by damaging rapidly dividing cells, including those in the intestine, allowing potentially pathogenic bacteria to escape into the bloodstream and cause infection. Antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolone, are therefore frequently used as a treatment for radiation exposure. Radiation also depletes a protein called bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI), which normally acts to neutralize endotoxin (found in intestinal bacteria) in the blood. A research team led by Eva C. Guinan (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA) recently showed that supplying BPI along with fluoroquinolone mitigated toxicity of radiation exposure in mice.
Lab Anim. (NY) 41, 4 (2012).
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