Low Dose and Non-Targeted Radiation Effects in Environmental Protection and Medicine—A New Model Focusing on Electromagnetic Signaling Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The role of signalling in initiating and perpetuating effects triggered by deposition of ionising radiation energy in parts of a system is very clear. Less clear are the very early steps involved in converting energy to chemical and biological effects in non-targeted parts of the system. The paper aims to present a new model, which could aid our understanding of the role of low dose effects in determining ultimate disease outcomes. We propose a key role for electromagnetic signals resulting from physico-chemical processes such as excitation decay, and acoustic waves. These lead to the initiation of damage response pathways such as elevation of reactive oxygen species and membrane associated changes in key ion channels. Critically, these signalling pathways allow coordination of responses across system levels. For example, depending on how these perturbations are transduced, adverse or beneficial outcomes may predominate. We suggest that by appreciating the importance of signalling and communication between multiple levels of organisation, a unified theory could emerge. This would allow the development of models incorporating time, space and system level to position data in appropriate areas of a multidimensional domain. We propose the use of the term “infosome” to capture the nature of radiation-induced communication systems which include physical as well as chemical signals. We have named our model “the variable response model” or “VRM” which allows for multiple outcomes following exposure to low doses or to signals from low dose irradiated cells, tissues or organisms. We suggest that the use of both dose and infosome in radiation protection might open up new conceptual avenues that could allow intrinsic uncertainty to be embraced within a holistic protection framework.

publication date

  • September 21, 2022