A Dose Threshold for a Medium Transfer Bystander Effect for a Human Skin Cell Line
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The existence of radiation-induced bystander effects mediated by diffusible factors is now accepted, but the mechanisms and precise behavior at low doses remain unclear. We exposed cells to gamma-ray doses in the range 0.04 mGy-5 Gy, harvested the culture medium, and transferred it to unirradiated reporter cells. Calcium fluxes and clonogenic survival were measured in the recipients. We show evidence for a dose threshold around 2 mGy for the human skin cell line used with a suggestion of increased survival below that dose. Similar experiments using direct gamma irradiation showed no reduction in survival until the dose exceeded 7 mGy. Preliminary data for neutrons where the gamma-ray dose was kept below the bystander threshold do not show a significant bystander effect in the dose range 1-33 mGy. A lack of a bystander response with neutrons occurred at around 1 Gy, where significant cell killing from direct irradiation was observed. The result may have implications for understanding the role of bystander effects at low doses.
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