Energetic heavy ions accelerate differentiation in the descendants of irradiated normal human diploid fibroblasts

Nobuyuki Hamada, Takamitsu Hara, Tomoo Funayama, Tetsuya Sakashita, Yasuhiko Kobayashi
Mutation Research 2008 January 1, 637 (1): 190-6
Ionizing radiation-induced genomic instability has been demonstrated in a variety of endpoints such as delayed reproductive death, chromosome instability and mutations, which occurs in the progeny of survivors many generations after the initial insult. Dependence of these effects on the linear energy transfer (LET) of the radiation is incompletely characterized; however, our previous work has shown that delayed reductions in clonogenicity can be most pronounced at LET of 108 keV/microm. To gain insight into potential cellular mechanisms involved in LET-dependent delayed loss of clonogenicity, we investigated morphological changes in colonies arising from normal human diploid fibroblasts exposed to gamma-rays or energetic carbon ions (108 keV/microm). Exposure of confluent cultures to carbon ions was 4-fold more effective at inactivating cellular clonogenic potential and produced more abortive colonies containing reduced number of cells per colony than gamma-rays. Second, colonies were assessed for clonal morphotypic heterogeneity. The yield of differentiated cells was elevated in a dose- and LET-dependent fashion in clonogenic colonies, whereas differentiated cells predominated to a comparable extent irrespective of radiation type or dose in abortive colonies. The incidence of giant or multinucleated cells was also increased but much less frequent than that of differentiated cells. Collectively, our results indicate that carbon ions facilitate differentiation more effectively than gamma-rays as a major response in the progeny of irradiated fibroblasts. Accelerated differentiation may account, at least in part, for dose- and LET-dependent delayed loss of clonogenicity in normal human diploid cells, and could be a defensive mechanism that minimizes further expansion of aberrant cells.

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