Identification of measurable nontransient responses to low-dose radiation in human primary cell cultures remains a problem. To this end, circulating endothelial colony-forming (progenitor) cells (ECFCs) were examined as an experimental model. ECFCs were isolated from three cord blood donors. Cells were positive for endothelial cell markers and remained highly proliferative after long-term cryopreservation. A single dose of X-ray radiation (0.06-0.38 Gy) inhibited ECFC culture growth. This effect was evident at 48 hours and persisted up to 72 hr postirradiation. Such protracted cytostatic response of ECFCs to low-dose radiation suggests that ECFC primary cultures can be used to study low-dose radiation effects.