Production of a signal by irradiated cells which leads to a response in unirradiated cells characteristic of initiation of apoptosis
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This study investigated the ability of medium from irradiated cells to induce early events in the apoptotic cascade, such as mobilization of intracellular calcium, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and increase in reactive oxygen species, in cells which were never exposed to radiation. Medium from irradiated human keratinocytes was harvested and transferred to unirradiated keratinocytes. Endpoints characteristic of the initiation of apoptosis were monitored for a period of 24 h following medium transfer. Clonogenic survival was also measured. Rapid calcium fluxes (within 30 s), loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, increases in reactive oxygen species (from 6 h after medium transfer), an increase in the number of apoptotic cells (48 hours after medium transfer) and a marked reduction in clonogenic survival (after 9 days) were observed. There was no significant difference between medium generated by cells irradiated at 0.5 Gy or 5 Gy. The data suggest that initiating events in the apoptotic cascade were induced in unexposed cells by a signal produced by irradiated cells.
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