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Radiat Res. 2003 May;159(5):581-96.

Non-targeted and delayed effects of exposure to ionizing radiation: II. Radiation-induced genomic instability and bystander effects in vivo, clastogenic factors and transgenerational effects.

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Radiation Oncology Research Laboratory and Greenebaum Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland 21201-5525, USA.
U MD, Baltimore


The goal of this review is to summarize the evidence for non-targeted and delayed effects of exposure to ionizing radiation in vivo. Currently, human health risks associated with radiation exposures are based primarily on the assumption that the detrimental effects of radiation occur in irradiated cells. Over the years a number of non-targeted effects of radiation exposure in vivo have been described that challenge this concept. These include radiation-induced genomic instability, bystander effects, clastogenic factors produced in plasma from irradiated individuals that can cause chromosomal damage when cultured with nonirradiated cells, and transgenerational effects of parental irradiation that can manifest in the progeny. These effects pose new challenges to evaluating the risk(s) associated with radiation exposure and understanding radiation-induced carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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