U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Bystander Effects of Low Dose Radiation Exposure Studied In Vivo
Published: February 22, 2010
Posted: March 04, 2010

Understanding the effects of low doses of ionizing radiation requires understanding not only the direct effects of cells hit by the radiation, but also any subsequent effects of unirradiated cells seen within the tissue as a whole, i.e., bystander effects. DOE investigators have developed a method for studying these bystander effects in vivo in an intact, non-irradiated organ of a physiologically normal animal, the mouse, to determine whether bystander effects in vivo are the same as seen in traditional in vitro studies. The novel method is robust, reproducible, and allows study of variations in exposure time, dose rate, radiation source, etc. First results using the spleen show that neither the local area surrounding irradiated donor cells nor the spleen as a whole showed changes in apoptosis or proliferation, suggesting that if bystander effects are occurring in vivo, they may not pose as large a concern to estimates of radiation risk as in vitro studies might predict.

Reference: Blyth, B. J., Azzam, E. I., Howell, R. W., Ormsby, R. J., Staudacher, A. H. and Sykes, P. J. An Adoptive Transfer Method to Detect Low-Dose Radiation-Induced Bystander Effects in vivo. Radiation Research 173, 125-137 (2010)

Contact: Noelle Metting, SC-23.2, (301) 903-8309
Topic Areas:

  • Legacy: Low Dose Radiation, Radiobiology

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


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