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Mutat Res. 1991 Aug;263(4):197-201.

Human lymphocytes exposed to low doses of X-rays are less susceptible to radiation-induced mutagenesis.

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Laboratory of Radiobiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115.


Human lymphocytes exposed to low doses of X-rays become refractory to the subsequent induction of chromosomal damage by high doses of radiation (Shadley and Wolff, 1987). The current study was designed to test the effect of pretreatment of human T-lymphocytes with a low dose of X-rays on the induction of mutations at the hprt locus by a subsequent challenge dose. When cells were exposed to 1 cGy X-rays 24 h after phytohemagglutinin stimulation, the yield of mutations induced by a 300 cGy X-ray dose given 16 h later was reduced by approximately 70% from the control level of X-ray-induced mutations. This indicates that this previously described adaptive response to low dose X-rays also results in lymphocytes becoming refractory to the induction of gene mutations.

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