To investigate the influence of chronic hypoxia and anoxia on cell survival after low- and high-LET radiation, CHO-K1 cells were kept for 24 h under chronic hypoxia (94.5% N2; 5% CO2; 0.5% O2) or chronic anoxia (95% N2; 5% CO2). Irradiation was performed using 250 kVp X-rays or carbon ions with a dose average LET of 100 keV/μm either directly under the chronic oxygenation states, or at different time points after reoxygenation. Moreover, the cell cycle distribution for cells irradiated under different chronic oxic states was measured over 24 h during reoxygenation. The measurements showed a fairly uniform cell cycle distribution under chronic hypoxia, similar to normoxic conditions. Chronic anoxia induced a block in G1 and a strong reduction of S-phase cells. A distribution similar to normoxic conditions was reached after 12 h of reoxygenation. CHO cells had a similar survival under both acute and chronic hypoxia. In contrast, survival after irradiation under chronic anoxia was slightly reduced compared to that under acute anoxia. We conclude that, in hamster cells, chronic anoxia is less effective than acute anoxia in inducing radioresistance for both X-rays and carbon ions, whereas in hypoxia, acute and chronic exposures have a similar impact on cell killing.
Keywords: anoxia; carbon ions; cell cycle distribution; hypoxia; radiosensitivity.