X-irradiation induces cell death in fetal fibroblasts
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
International journal of molecular medicine. - Athens
, p. 114-118
The impact of ionizing radiation on developing organisms has been widely studied for risk assessment purposes. Even though efforts have been made to decrease received doses to as low as reasonably achievable, the possibility of accidental exposure has to be considered as well. Mammalian gestation is usually divided into three periods. Radiation exposure during the 'pre-implantation period' may essentially result in embryonic mortality while exposure during the 'organogenesis period' may characteristically lead to malformations. In humans, the 'fetal period' is one of particular sensitivity to radiation induction of mental retardation, especially if the exposure occurs between weeks 8-15 of gestation. It is also admitted that prenatal irradiation may increase the risk of leukemia and childhood cancer, with an equal risk over the whole pregnancy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of moderate to high doses of X-irradiation on mouse skin fetal fibroblasts, one of the cell types subjected to the highest dose of radiation. Exposure of the cells to X-rays led to a rapid and significant increase in gamma-H2AX foci, indicative of high levels of DNA double strand breaks. High doses (>2 Gy) also led to a pronounced G2-arrest and a decrease in the number of cells in the S phase, which was followed after 24 h by a decrease in cell survival and an increase in the level of apoptosis and necrosis. This study shows that mouse fetal skin fibroblasts are sensitive to high doses of X-irradiation. Furthermore, we report a better repair for higher doses than lower, which seems to indicate that little DNA damage is not necessarily repaired immediately. However, more sensitive approaches are necessary to identify the risk associated with low doses of radiation.