Radiation-induced adaptive responses and bystander effects

Biol Sci Space. 2004 Dec;18(4):247-54. doi: 10.2187/bss.18.247.


A classical paradigm [correction of paradym] of radiation biology asserts that all radiation effects on cells, tissues and organisms are due to the direct action of radiation. However, there has been a recent growth of interest in the indirect actions of radiation including the radiation-induced adaptive response, the bystander effect, low-dose hypersensitivity, and genomic instability, which are specific modes of stress exhibited in response to low-dose/low-dose rate radiation. This review focuses on the radiation-induced bystander effect and the adaptive response, provides a description of the two phenomena, and discusses the contribution of the former to the latter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Bystander Effect*
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Genes, p53 / radiation effects
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Linear Energy Transfer
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Tolerance*
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange / radiation effects
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase