Maguire, P., Mothersill, C., Seymour, C. and Lyng, F. M. Medium from Irradiated Cells Induces Dose-Dependent Mitochondrial Changes and BCL2 Responses in Unirradiated Human Keratinocytes. Radiat. Res. 163, 384–390 (2005).
Exposure of unirradiated human keratinocytes to irradiated cell conditioned medium (ICCM) is known to cause a cascade of events that leads to reproductive death and apoptosis. This study investigates the effect of ICCM on clonogenic survival, mitochondrial mass and BCL2 expression in unirradiated keratinocytes. Exposure to 5 mGy, 0.5 Gy and 5 Gy ICCM resulted in a significant decrease in clonogenic survival. Human keratinocytes incubated with ICCM containing an antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, showed no significant decrease in clonogenic survival. HPV-G cells incubated with ICCM containing a caspase 9 inhibitor showed no significant decrease in clonogenic survival when the ICCM dose was ≤0.5 Gy. A significant increase in mitochondrial mass per cell was observed after exposure to 5 mGy and 0.5 Gy ICCM. A change in the distribution of the mitochondria from a diffuse cytoplasmic distribution to a more densely concentrated perinuclear distribution was also observed at these doses. No significant increase in mitochondrial mass or change in distribution of the mitochondria was found for 5 Gy ICCM. Low BCL2 expression was observed in HPV-G cells exposed to 5 mGy or 0.5 Gy ICCM, whereas a large significant increase in BCL2 expression was observed in cells exposed to 5 Gy ICCM. This study has shown that low-dose irradiation can cause cells to produce medium-borne signals that can cause mitochondrial changes and the induction of BCL2 expression in unirradiated HPV-G cells. The dose dependence of the mitochondrial changes and BCL2 expression suggests that the mechanisms may be aimed at control of response to radiation at the population level through signaling pathways.