Boreham, D. R., Dolling, J-A., Maves, S. R., Siwarungsun, N. and Mitchel, R. E. J. Dose-Rate Effects for Apoptosis and Micronucleus Formation in Gamma-Irradiated Human Lymphocytes.
We have compared dose-rate effects for γ-radiation-induced apoptosis and micronucleus formation in human lymphocytes. Long-term assessment of individual radiation-induced apoptosis showed little intraindividual variation but significant interindividual variation. The effectiveness of radiation exposure to cause apoptosis or micronucleus formation was reduced by low-dose-rate exposures, but the reduction was apparent at different dose rates for these two end points. Micronucleus formation showed a dose-rate effect when the dose rate was lowered to 0.29 cGy/min, but there was no accompanying cell cycle delay. A further increase in the dose-rate effect was seen at 0.15 cGy/min, but was now accompanied by cell cycle delay. There was no dose-rate effect for the induction of apoptosis until the dose rate was reduced to 0.15 cGy/min, indicating that the mechanisms or signals for processing radiation-induced lesions for these two end points must be different at least in part. There appear to be two mechanisms that contribute to the dose-rate effect for micronucleus formation. One of these does not affect binucleate cell frequency and occurs at dose rates higher than that required to produce a dose-rate effect for apoptosis, and one affects binucleate cell frequency, induced only at the very low dose rate which coincidentally produces a dose-rate effect for apoptosis. Since the dose rate at which cells showed reduced apoptosis as well as a further reduction in micronucleus formation was very low, we conclude that the processing of the radiation-induced lesions that induce apoptosis, and some micronuclei, is very slow in quiescent and PHA-stimulated lymphocytes, respectively.