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Radiat Res. 2004 Sep;162(3):264-9.

Effect of medium on chromatin damage in bystander mammalian cells.

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  • 1Center for Radiological Research, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


In the present study, we examined the potential contribution of irradiated medium to the bystander effect using custom-made double-Mylar stainless steel rings. Exponentially growing human-hamster hybrid (A(L)) cells were plated on either one or both sides of double-Mylar dishes 2-4 days before irradiation. One side (with or without cells) was irradiated with alpha particles using the track segment mode of a 4 MeV Van de Graaff accelerator at the Radiological Research Accelerator Facility of Columbia University. Since alpha particles can traverse only a very limited distance (around 23 microm in water), cells plated on the other side of a medium-filled Mylar dish will not be irradiated by the alpha particles. The results of the cytogenetic assay of unirradiated target cells that were attached to the top Mylar layer indicate that the number of chromatid-type aberrations was higher when there was a bottom layer of cells in the medium-filled chambers than with just medium alone. Furthermore, when the medium was transferred from these cell-irradiated dishes to fresh A(L) cell cultures, chromatid-type aberrations were produced in the unirradiated fresh cells. In contrast, medium irradiated in the absence of cells had no effect on chromatid aberrations. These results suggest that certain unidentified modulating factors secreted from the irradiated cells on the bottom Mylar layer into the medium induce chromatin damage in the unirradiated bystander cells.

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