Cell cycle-related bystander responses are not increased with LET after heavy-ion irradiation

C Fournier, D Becker, M Winter, P Barberet, M Heiss, B Fischer, J Topsch, G Taucher-Scholz
Radiation Research 2007, 167 (2): 194-206
Evidence has accumulated that irradiated cells affect their unirradiated neighbors, so that they in turn display cellular responses typically associated with direct radiation exposure. These responses are generally known as bystander effects. In this study, cell cycle-related bystander responses were investigated in three strains of human fibroblasts after exposure to densely ionizing radiation. Varying the linear energy transfer (LET) from 11 to 15,000 keV microm(-1) allowed a study of the impact of the complexity of DNA damage in the inducing cells on the responses of bystander cells. Using both broad-beam and microbeam irradiation, transient bystander responses were obtained for the induction of CDKN1A (p21). The latter was also observed when the transmission of bystander signals was limited to soluble factors. Targeted irradiation of single cells in confluent cell monolayers revealed no correlation between the amount of CDKN1A protein in the bystander cells and the radial distance to the targeted cells. In line with the induction of CDKN1A in bystander cells after irradiation with different LETs, a transient delay in the first G1 phase after irradiation of G0/G1 cells was observed. However, the CDKN1A induction revealed no significant effect on premature terminal differentiation considered to underlie fibrosis in irradiated tissue. Thus the unchanged differentiation pattern in bystander cells does not indicate pronounced, long-lasting effects.

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