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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2005 Mar-Apr;45(2-3):188-205.

Alterations in gene expression profiles and the DNA-damage response in ionizing radiation-exposed TK6 cells.

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Division of Genetic and Reproductive Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, Arkansas 72079, USA.


Identifying genes that are differentially expressed in response to DNA damage may help elucidate markers for genetic damage and provide insight into the cellular responses to specific genotoxic agents. We utilized cDNA microarrays to develop gene expression profiles for ionizing radiation-exposed human lymphoblastoid TK6 cells. In order to relate changes in the expression profiles to biological responses, the effects of ionizing radiation on cell viability, cloning efficiency, and micronucleus formation were measured. TK6 cells were exposed to 0.5, 1, 5, 10, and 20 Gy ionizing radiation and cultured for 4 or 24 hr. A significant (P < 0.0001) decrease in cloning efficiency was observed at all doses at 4 and 24 hr after exposure. Flow cytometry revealed significant decreases in cell viability at 24 hr in cells exposed to 5 (P < 0.001), 10 (P < 0.0001), and 20 Gy (P < 0.0001). An increase in micronucleus frequency occurred at both 4 and 24 hr at 0.5 and 1 Gy; however, insufficient binucleated cells were present for analysis at the higher doses. Gene expression profiles were developed from mRNA isolated from cells exposed to 5, 10, and 20 Gy using a 350 gene human cDNA array platform. Overall, more genes were differentially expressed at 24-hr than at the 4-hr time point. The genes upregulated (> 1.5-fold) or downregulated (< 0.67-fold) at 4 hr were those primarily involved in the cessation of the cell cycle, cellular detoxification pathways, DNA repair, and apoptosis. At 24 hr, glutathione-associated genes were induced in addition to genes involved in apoptosis. Genes involved in cell cycle progression and mitosis were downregulated at 24 hr. Real-time quantitative PCR was used to confirm the microarray results and to evaluate expression levels of selected genes at the low doses (0.5 and 1.0 Gy). The expression profiles reflect the cellular and molecular responses to ionizing radiation related to the recognition of DNA damage, a halt in progression through the cell cycle, activation of DNA-repair pathways, and the promotion of apoptosis.

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