Low-dose radiation-induced adaptive responses have been shown in many cell culture systems to protect against cell death from a subsequent high-dose radiation challenge. The protective role seen in single cells is believed to promote the repair of DNA double-strand breaks, a severe threat to cell survival. DOE researcher Dr. Ya Wang of Emory University and her group have now shown that a particular DNA repair pathway (the non-homologous end-joining pathway) is stimulated by low-dose radiation. Another DNA repair pathway, the homologous recombination repair pathway, has also been studied, and does not seem to be affected. The accumulating evidence for beneficial adaptation initiated by a low dose of ionizing radiation argues in favor of a threshold model for deleterious effects.
Reference: Yu, X., H. Wang, P. Wang, B. P. C. Chen, and Y. Wang. 2011. “The Ku-Dependent Non-Homologous End-Joining Pathway Contributes to Low-Dose Radiation-Stimulated Cell Survival,” Journal of Cellular Physiology 226, 369–74.
Contact: Noelle Metting, SC-23.2, (301) 903-8309
SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER
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