2012 Volume 6 Issue 4 Pages 169-177
Irradiation from diverse sources is ubiquitous and closely associated with human activity. Radiation therapy (RT), an important component of the multiple radiation origins, contributes significantly to oncotherapy by killing tumor cells. On the other hand, RT can also cause some undesired normal tissue injuries that afflict numerous cancer patients. Although many promising radioprotective agents are emerging, few of them have entered the market successfully due to various limitations. At present, the most accepted hypothesis for the radiation-caused injury involves reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), the unique enzyme responsible for the dismutation of superoxide radicals, is expected to occupy an indispensable position in the treatment of ROS-mediated tissue injuries originating from exposure to radiation. This review focuses on the mechanism of radioprotection by SOD at the tissue or organ level, cellular level, and molecular level, respectively, in order to provide references for further investigation of radiation injury and development of new radioprotectors.