Nugent, S. M. E., Mothersill, C. E., Seymour, C., McClean, B., Lyng, F. M. and Murphy, J. E. J. Increased Mitochondrial Mass in Cells with Functionally Compromised Mitochondria after Exposure to both Direct γ Radiation and Bystander Factors. Radiat. Res. 168, 134–142 (2007).
The bystander effect describes radiation-like damage in unirradiated cells either in the vicinity of irradiated cells or exposed to medium from irradiated cells. This study aimed to further characterize the poorly understood mitochondrial response to both direct irradiation and bystander factor(s) in human keratinocytes (HPV-G) and Chinese hamster ovarian cells (CHO-K1). Oxygen consumption rates were determined during periods of state 4, state 3 and uncoupled respiration. Mitochondrial mass was determined using MitoTracker FM. CHO-K1 cells showed significantly reduced oxygen consumption rates 4 h after exposure to 5 Gy direct radiation and irradiated cell conditioned medium (ICCM) and an apparent recovery 12–24 h later. The apparent recovery was likely due to the substantial increase in mitochondrial mass observed in these cells as soon as 4 h after exposure. HPV-G cells, on the other hand, showed a sustained increase in oxygen consumption rates after ICCM exposure and a transient increase 4 h after exposure to 5 Gy direct radiation. A significant increase in mitochondrial mass per HPV-G cell was observed after exposure to both direct radiation and ICCM. These findings are indicative of a stress response to mitochondrial dysfunction that increases the number of mitochondria per cell.