Ultra-Violet Light Emission from HPV-G Cells Irradiated with Low Let Radiation from 90Y; Consequences for Radiation Induced Bystander Effects
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In this study, we aimed to establish the emission of UV photons when HPV-G cells and associated materials (such as the cell substrate and cell growth media) are exposed to low LET radiation. The potential role of UV photons in the secondary triggering of biological processes led us to hypothesize that the emission and absorption of photons at this wavelength explain some radiation induced "bystander effects" that have previously been thought to be chemically mediated. Cells were plated in Petri-dishes of two different sizes, having different thicknesses of polystyrene (PS) substrate, and were exposed to β-radiation from (90)Y produced by the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. UV measurements were performed using a single photon counting system employing an interference-type filter for selection of a narrow wavelength range, 340±5 nm, of photons. Exposure of the cell substrates (which were made of polystyrene) determined that UV photons were being emitted as a consequence of β particle irradiation of the Petri-dishes. For a tightly collimated β-particle beam exposure, we observed 167 photons in the detector per unit μCi in the shielded source for a 1.76 mm thick substrate and 158 photons/μCi for a 0.878 mm thick substrate. A unit μCi source activity was equivalent to an exposure to the substrate of 18 β-particles/cm(2) in this case. The presence of cells and medium in a Petri-dish was found to significantly increase (up to a maximum of 250%) the measured number of photons in a narrow band of wavelengths of 340±5 nm (i.e. UVA) as compared to the signal from an empty control Petri-dish. When coloured growth medium was added to the cells, it reduced the measured count rate, while the addition of transparent medium in equal volume increased the count rate, compared to cells alone. We attribute this to the fact that emission, scattering and absorption of light by cells and media are all variables in the experiment. Under collimated irradiation conditions, it was observed that increasing cell density in medium of fixed volume resulted in a decrease in the observed light output. This followed a roughly exponential decline. We suggest that this may be due to increased scattering at the cell boundary and absorption of the UV in the cells. We conclude that we have measured UVA emitted by cells, cell medium and cell substrates as a consequence of their irradiation by low LET β-particle radiation. We suggest that these secondary UV photons could lead to effects in non-targetted cells. Some effects that had previously been attributed to a chemically mediated "bystander effect" may in fact be due to secondary UV emission. Some radiation bystander effect studies may require re-interpretation as this phenomenon of UV emission is further investigated.
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