Lin, Y., Nagasawa, H., Peng, Y., Chuang, E. Y. and Bedford, J. S. Comparison of Several Radiation Effects in Human MCF10A Mammary Epithelial Cells Cultured as 2D Monolayers or 3D Acinar Stuctures in Matrigel. Radiat. Res. 171, 708–715 (2009).
It has been argued that the cell-cell and cell-matrix interaction networks in normal tissues are disrupted by radiation and that this largely controls many of the most important cellular radiation responses. This has led to the broader assertion that individual cells in normal tissue or a 3D normal-tissue-like culture will respond to radiation very differently than the same cells in a 2D monolayer culture. While many studies have shown that, in some cases, cell-cell contact in spheroids of transformed or tumor cell lines can alter radiation responses relative to those for the same cells in monolayer cultures, a question remains regarding the possible effect of the above-mentioned disruption of signaling networks that operate more specifically for cells in normal tissues or in a 3D tissue-like context. To test the generality of this notion, we used human MCF-10A cells, an immortalized mammary epithelial cell line that produces acinar structures in culture with many properties of human mammary ducts. We compared the dose responses for these cells in the 2D monolayer and in 3D ductal or acinar structures. The responses examined were reproductive cell death, induction of chromosomal aberrations, and the levels of γ-H2AX foci in cells after single acute γ-ray doses and immediately after 20 h of irradiation at a dose rate of 0.0017 Gy/min. We found no significant differences in the dose responses of these cells in 2D or 3D growth conditions. While this does not mean that such differences cannot occur in other situations, it does mean that they do not generally or necessarily occur.