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Int J Radiat Biol. 2015 Jan;91(1):13-27. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2014.937510. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Molecular mechanisms of low dose ionizing radiation-induced hormesis, adaptive responses, radioresistance, bystander effects, and genomic instability.

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Temasek Laboratories, National University of Singapore.



To review research progress on the molecular mechanisms of low dose ionizing radiation (LDIR)-induced hormesis, adaptive responses, radioresistance, bystander effects, and genomic instability in order to provide clues for therapeutic approaches to enhance biopositive effects (defined as radiation-induced beneficial effects to the organism), and control bionegative effects (defined as radiation-induced harmful effects to the organism) and related human diseases.


Experimental studies have indicated that Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM), extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phospho-c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) and protein 53 (P53)-related signal transduction pathways may be involved in LDIR-induced hormesis; MAPK, P53 may be important for adaptive response; ATM, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), ERK, JNK, reactive oxygen species (ROS), P53 for radioresistance; COX-2, ERK, MAPK, ROS, tumor necrosis factor receptor alpha (TNFα) for LDIR-induced bystander effect; whereas ATM, ERK, MAPK, P53, ROS, TNFα-related signal transduction pathways are involved in LDIR-induced genomic instability. These results suggest that different manifestations of LDIR-induced cellular responses may have different signal transduction pathways. On the other hand, LDIR-induced different responses may also share the same signal transduction pathways. For instance, P53 has been involved in LDIR-induced hormesis, adaptive response, radioresistance and genomic instability. Current data therefore suggest that caution should be taken when designing therapeutic approaches using LDIR to induce beneficial effects in humans.


Molecular mechanism; bioresponses; human diseases; low dose radiation

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