Production of delayed death and neoplastic transformation in CGL1 cells by radiation-induced bystander effects

D A Lewis, B M Mayhugh, Y Qin, K Trott, M S Mendonca
Radiation Research 2001, 156 (3): 251-8
Other investigators have demonstrated by transfer of medium from irradiated cells and by irradiation with low-fluence alpha particles or microbeams that cells do not have to be directly exposed to ionizing radiation to be detrimentally affected, i.e. bystander effects. In this study, we demonstrate by transfer of medium from X-irradiated human CGL1 hybrid cells that the killing of bystander cells reduces the plating efficiency of the nonirradiated CGL1 cells by 33 +/- 6%. In addition, we show that the amount of cell death induced by bystander effects is not dependent on X-ray dose, and that the induction of apoptosis does not appear to be responsible for the cell death. Furthermore, we found that the reduction in plating efficiency in bystander cells is evident for over 18 days, or 22 cell population doublings, after medium transfer, despite repeated refeeding of the cell cultures. Finally, we report the novel observation that bystander effects induced by the transfer of medium from irradiated cells can induce neoplastic transformation. Exposing unirradiated CGL1 cells to medium from cells irradiated with 5 or 7 Gy increased the frequency of neoplastic transformation significantly from 6.3 x 10(-6) in unirradiated controls to 2.3 x 10(-5) (a factor of nearly four). We conclude that the bystander effect induces persistent, long-term, transmissible changes in the progeny of CGL1 cells that result in delayed death and neoplastic transformation. The data suggest that neoplastic transformation in bystander cells may play a significant role in radiation-induced neoplastic transformation at lower doses of X rays.

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