Lei Cheng, Stockholm University
Andrzej Wojcik, MBW, Stockholm University
Penny A. Jeggo, Genome Damage and Stability Centre, University of Sussex, UK
Christopher L. Rääf, Medical Radiation Physics, Dept. of Translational Medicin, Lund University
Neus Visa, MBW, Stockholm University
Alexandru Dasu, The Skandion Clinic, Uppsala
Ulrich Theopold, MBW, Stockholm University

Factors modifying cellular response to ionizing radiation

Many physical factors influence the biological effect of exposure to ionizing radiation, including radiation quality, dose rate and temerature. This thesis focuses on how these factors influence the outcome of exposure and the mechanisms behind the cellular response.
Mixed beam exposure, which is the combination of different ionizing radiations, occurs in many situations and the effects are important to understand for radiation protection and effect prediction. Recently, studies show that the effect of simultaneous irradiation with different qualities is greater than simple additivity of single radiation types, which is called a synergistic effect. But its mechanism is unclear. In Paper I, II and III, alpha particles and X-rays were used to study the effect of mixed beams. Paper I shows that mixed exposure induced a synergistic effect in generating double strand breaks (DSB), and these DSB were repaired by slow kinetics in U2OS cells. In Paper II, alkaline comet assay was applied to investigate the induction and repair of DNA lesions including DSB, single strand breaks and alkali labile sites in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL). We demonstrate that mixed beams interact in inducing DNA damage and influencing DNA damage response (DDR), which result in a delay of DNA repair. Both in Paper I and II, mixed beams showed a capability in inducing higher activity of DDR proteins than expected from additivity. Paper III investigates selected DDR-related gene expression levels after exposure to mixed beams in PBL from 4 donors. Synergy was present for all donors but the results suggested individual variability in the response to mixed beams, most likely due to life style changes.
Low temperature at exposure is radioprotective at the level of cytogenetic damage. In Paper IV, data indicate that this effect is through promotion of DNA repair, which leads to reduced transformation of DNA damage into chromosomal aberrations.
Paper V aims to compare the biological effectiveness of gamma radiation delivered at a very high dose rate (VHDR) with that of a high dose rate (HDR) in order to optimize chronic exposure risk prediction based on the data of atomic bomb survivors. The results suggest that VHDR gamma radiation is more effective in inducing DNA damage than HDR.
Keywords: Radiation biology, DNA damage, gene expression, alpha particles, X-rays, mixed beams, gamma rays, hypothermia, dose rate.