Postirradiation Expression of Lethal Mutations in an Immortalized Human Keratinocyte Cell Line
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The quantification of the extent of delayed cell death and the rate and pattern of its occurrence in relation to the cell division cycle is important in radiotherapy and also in radiation transformation studies related to protection and dose limits. Here the numbers of lethal mutations occurring over 45 population doublings (clonal expansion to about 10(13) cells per cell originally surviving irradiation) was measured in an HPV 16 immortalized human keratinocyte cell lines used for transformation studies. The results showed that when postirradiation (dose range 1-6 Gy) growth curves were constructed, the difference in slopes could be accounted for entirely by correcting for the non-clonogenic fraction in the cell count, excluding a longer cell generation time as an explanation. When the cell loss was examined over the entire growth period of 6 weeks (about 45 doublings of the cell population), it was found to be dose dependent for the first two passages, but then to become more independent of dose. The mean loss for the population over the entire 45 cell doublings was about 15% at each cell division. There is some indication from the data that the numbers of lethal mutations actually begin to increase between passage 6 and 7 at every dose tested but this requires further investigation. The results allow a time/cell generation dependent factor to be derived for the cell line and used in survival curve equations where effects of radiation are being measured at times distant from the original exposure.
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