Small doses of high-linear energy transfer radiation increase the radioresistance of Chinese hamster V79 cells to subsequent X irradiation

B. Marples, K. A. Skov

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Chinese hamster V79 cells show a complex X-ray survival response which is characterized by hypersensitivity followed by increased resistance as the dose increases to 1 Gy. This hypersensitivity can be eliminated by pretreating cells with X rays or hydrogen peroxide. Accordingly, the protective effect that results from the priming treatments could be considered analogous to the 'adaptive response' induced by low-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation and some chemical agents in human lymphocytes. Indeed, no hyper-radiosensitive response after single treatments in V79 cells or adaptive response in human lymphocytes has been reported after exposure to high-LET radiation. To investigate this further, we measured the survival after X irradiation of V79-379A cells previously irradiated with small priming doses of high-LET radiation. After a 0.2-Gy priming dose of neutrons followed by a 1-Gy 250 kVp X-ray dose given 4 h later, survival was 1.08 ± 0.04 compared to 0.73 ± 0.03 when the doses were given concurrently. Increases in survival were also observed from 0.80 ± 0.03 to 0.96 ± 0.05 after a 0.2-Gy priming treatment with 250 kVp X rays and from 0.78 ± 0.03 to 0.84 ± 0.03 with a priming dose of Bragg-peak negative pi mesons. The results indicate that a protective effect, as measured by an increase in radioresistance, is induced by high-LET neutrons, as well as by Bragg-peak pi mesons and X rays, and that a threshold level of damage is required for adaptation to occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-387
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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