Adaptive response and the bystander effect induced by radiation in C3H 10T(1/2) cells in culture

Radiat Res. 2001 Aug;156(2):177-80. doi: 10.1667/0033-7587(2001)156[0177:aratbe];2.


This paper discusses two phenomena of importance at low doses that have an impact on the shape of the dose-response relationship. First, there is the bystander effect, the term used to describe the biological effects observed in cells that are not themselves traversed by a charged particle, but are neighbors of cells that are; this exaggerates the effect of small doses of radiation. Second, there is the adaptive response, whereby exposure to a low level of DNA stress renders cells resistant to a subsequent exposure; this reduces the effect of low doses of radiation. The present work was undertaken to assess the relative importance of the adaptive response and the bystander effect induced by radiation in C3H 10T(1/2) cells in culture. When the single-cell microbeam delivered from 1 to 12 alpha particles through the nuclei of 10% of C3H 10T(1/2) cells, more cells were inactivated than were actually traversed by alpha particles. The magnitude of this bystander effect increased with the number of particles per cell. An adaptive dose of 2 cGy of gamma rays, delivered 6 h beforehand, canceled out about half of the bystander effect produced by the alpha particles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Alpha Particles / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / radiation effects
  • DNA / radiation effects*
  • Mice
  • Radiation Tolerance


  • DNA