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Int J Radiat Biol. 2005 Feb;81(2):125-38.

Dose-response for radiation-induced apoptosis, residual 53BP1 foci and DNA-loop relaxation in human lymphocytes.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.


The purpose was to compare the radiation-induced apoptosis in human lymphocytes with DNA-loop relaxation and DNA damage as a function of radiation dose and time after exposure. Morphological changes were analysed by staining with fluorescent dyes and apoptotic fragmentation of DNA with conventional agarose gel electrophoresis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and alkaline comet assay. Viability was estimated by trypan blue assay. The levels of protein p53 (TP53) were determined with Western blot. Relaxation of DNA-loops was analysed by the method of anomalous viscosity time dependence (AVTD) and neutral comet assay. Induction and repair of double-strand breaks (DSB) was studied by PFGE and by immunostaining of the TP53 binding protein 1 (53BP1). At various time points of apoptosis, there was a linear dose dependence for all apoptotic end-points up to 1-2 Gy followed by a plateau at higher doses. Immediately after irradiation, relaxation of DNA-loops due to strand breaks was observed. This relaxation had a similar dose-response with saturation at 2-3 Gy. This dose induced approximately one single-strand break (SSB) per 2 Mb of DNA, a value close to the average size of DNA-loops in resting lymphocytes. Similar saturations in dose-responses for apoptosis and DNA-loop relaxation were also observed if cells were treated by camptothecin (CPT) or etoposide VP-16, drugs that relax DNA-loops by induction of SSB and DSB, respectively. The PFGE data showed that the vast majority of DSB were repaired within few hours after irradiation. However, approximately 1.4 foci/Gy/cell, that corresponded to around 3.5% of initial DSB, remained in cells even 24 h after irradiation as measured with immunostaining. The probability to produce one or more than one residual foci per cell was calculated. Radiation at 2-3 Gy induced at least one residual 53BP1 focus per cell. The dose-responses for DNA-loop relaxation, induction of at least one residual 53BP1 foci per cell and apoptosis saturated at 2-3 Gy. The correlation between dose-responses obtained suggested that the DSB in residual foci and relaxation of DNA-loops may be linked to induction of radiation-induced apoptosis in lymphocytes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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