Cheda, A., Wrembel-Wargocka, J., Lisiak, E., Nowosielska, E. M., Marciniak, M. and Janiak, M. K. Single Low Doses of X Rays Inhibit the Development of Experimental Tumor Metastases and Trigger the Activities of NK Cells in Mice. Radiat. Res. 161, 335–340 (2004).
There is evidence indicating that low-level exposures to low- LET radiation may inhibit the development of tumors, but the mechanism of this effect is virtually unknown. In the present study, BALB/c mice were irradiated with single doses of 0.1 or 0.2 Gy X rays and injected intravenously 2 h later with syngeneic L1 sarcoma cells. Compared to the values obtained for sham-irradiated control mice, the numbers of pulmonary tumor colonies were significantly reduced in the animals exposed to either 0.1 or 0.2 Gy X rays. Concurrently, a significant stimulation of NK cell-mediated cytotoxic activity was detected in splenocyte suspensions obtained from irradiated mice compared to sham-exposed mice. Intraperitoneal injection of the NK-suppressive anti-asialo GM1antibody totally abrogated the tumor inhibitory effect of the exposures to 0.1 and 0.2 Gy X rays. These results indicate that single irradiations of mice with either 0.1 or 0.2 Gy X rays suppress the development of experimental tumor metastases primarily due to the stimulation of the cytolytic function of NK cells by radiation.