Cell cycle arrest and aberration yield in normal human fibroblasts. I. Effects of X-rays and 195 MeV u(-1) C ions

E Nasonova, K Füssel, S Berger, E Gudowska-Nowak, S Ritter
International Journal of Radiation Biology 2004, 80 (9): 621-34

PURPOSE: To examine the relationship between cell proliferation and the expression of chromosomal damage in normal human skin fibroblasts after X-ray and particle irradiation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Confluent G0/G1 AG1522B cells were exposed to X-rays or 195MeV u(-1) C ions with a linear energy transfer of 16.6 keV microm(-1) in the dose range 1-4 Gy. Directly after irradiation, cells were reseeded at a low density in medium containing 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine. At multiple time points post-irradiation, the cumulative BrdU-labelling index, mitotic index and aberration frequency were measured. Based on these data, the total amount of damage induced within the entire cell population was estimated by means of mathematical analysis.

RESULTS: Both types of radiation exposure exert a pronounced effect on the cell cycle progression of fibroblasts. They result in delayed entry of cells into S-phase and into the first mitosis, and cause a dramatic reduction in mitotic activity. Measurement of chromosomal damage in first-cycle cells at multiple time points post-irradiation shows that the frequencies of aberrant cells and aberrations increase with time up to twofold for the lower doses. However, for the higher doses, this effect is less pronounced or even disappears. When the data for the whole cell population are analysed, it becomes evident that only a few damaged fibroblasts can progress to the first mitosis, a response attributable at least in part to a long-term arrest of injured cells in the initial G0/G1-phase. As observed in other investigations, the effectiveness of 195 MeV u(-1) C ions was similar or slightly higher than X-rays for all endpoints studied leading to a relative biological effectiveness in the range 1.0-1.4.

CONCLUSIONS: Cell cycle arrests affect the aberration yield observable in normal human fibroblasts at mitosis. The data obtained for the cell population as a whole reveal that injured cells are rapidly removed from the mitotically active population through a chronic cell cycle arrest, which is consistent with other studies that indicate that this response is a specific strategy of fibroblasts to minimize the fixation and propagation of genetic alterations.

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