Chromosomal instability in unirradiated hemopoietic cells resulting from a delayed in vivo bystander effect of gamma radiation

Sally Lorimore, Joanne McIlrath, Philip Coates, Eric Wright

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    Untargeted effects of ionizing radiation (de novo effects in the unirradiated descendants or neighbors of irradiated cells) challenge widely held views about the mechanisms of radiation-induced DNA damage with implications for the health consequences of radiation exposures particularly in the context of the induction of malignancy. To investigate in vivo untargeted effects of sparsely ionizing (low linear energy transfer) radiation, a congenic sex-mismatch bone marrow transplantation protocol has been used to repopulate the hemopoietic system from a mixture of ?-irradiated and nonirradiated hemopoietic stem cells such that host-, irradiated donor– and unirradiated donor–derived cells can be distinguished. Chromosomal instability in the progeny of irradiated hemopoietic stem cells accompanied by a reduction in their contribution to the repopulated hemopoietic system is consistent with a delayed genomic instability phenotype being expressed in vivo. However, chromosomal instability was also shown in the progeny of the nonirradiated hemopoietic stem cells implicating a bystander mechanism. Studies of the influence of irradiated recipient stromal microenvironment and experiments replacing irradiated cells with irradiated cell–conditioned medium reveal the source of the in vivo bystander effect to be the descendants of irradiated cells, rather than irradiated cell themselves. Thus, it is possible that a radiation-induced genomic instability phenotype in vivo need not necessarily be a reflection of intrinsically unstable cells but the responses to ongoing production of inflammatory-type damaging signals as a long-term unexpected consequence of the initial single radiation exposure
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5668-5673
    Number of pages6
    JournalCancer Research
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • Ionizing radiation
    • Bystander effects
    • Genomic instability
    • DNA damage
    • Hemopoiesis


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