Comparative human cellular radiosensitivity: I. The effect of SV40 transformation and immortalisation on the gamma-irradiation survival of skin derived fibroblasts from normal individuals and from ataxia-telangiectasia patients and heterozygotes

Int J Radiat Biol. 1988 Dec;54(6):911-28. doi: 10.1080/09553008814552321.


We have compared cell killing following 60Co gamma irradiation in 22 primary human fibroblast strains, nine SV40-immortalized human fibroblast lines and seven SV40-transformed pre-crisis human fibroblast cultures. We have examined material from normal individuals, from ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) patients and from A-T heterozygotes. We have confirmed the greater sensitivity of A-T derived cells to gamma radiation. The distinction between A-T and normal cells is maintained in cells immortalized by SV40 virus but the immortal cells are more gamma radiation resistant than the corresponding primary fibroblasts. Cells transformed by plasmids (pSV3gpt and pSV3neo) expressing SV40 T-antigen, both pre- and post-crisis, show this increased resistance, indicating that it is expression of SV40 T-antigen, rather than immortalization per se which is responsible for the change. We use D0, obtained from a straight line fit, and D, estimated from a multitarget curve, as parameters to compare radiosensitivity. We suggest that both have their advantages; D0 is perhaps more reproducible, but D is more realistic when comparing shouldered and non-shouldered data.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia Telangiectasia / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects*
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects*
  • Gamma Rays
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Radiation Tolerance*
  • Simian virus 40
  • Skin / cytology


  • Cobalt Radioisotopes