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The Ionizing Radiation-Induced Bystander Effect: Evidence, Mechanism, and Significance

Azzam, Edouard; de Toledo, Sonia; Harris, Andrew L.; Ivanov, Vladimir N.; Zhou, Hongning; Amundson, Sally A.; Lieberman, Howard B.; Hei, Tom K.

It has long been considered that the important biological effects of ionizing radiation are a direct consequence of unrepaired or misrepaired DNA damage occurring in the irradiated cells. It was presumed that no effect would occur in cells in the population that receive no direct radiation exposure. However, in vitro evidence generated over the past two decades has indicated that non-targeted cells in irradiated cell cultures also experience significant biochemical and phenotypic changes that are often similar to those observed in the targeted cells. Further, nontargeted tissues in partial body-irradiated rodents also experienced stressful effects, including oxidative and oncogenic effects. This phenomenon, termed the “bystander response,” has been postulated to impact both the estimation of health risks of exposure to low doses/low fluences of ionizing radiation and the induction of second primary cancers following radiotherapy. Several mechanisms involving secreted soluble factors, oxidative metabolism, gap-junction intercellular communication, and DNA repair, have been proposed to regulate radiation-induced bystander effects. The latter mechanisms are major mediators of the system responses to ionizing radiation exposure, and our knowledge of the biochemical and molecular events involved in these processes is reviewed in this chapter.


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Also Published In

Pathobiology of Cancer Regimen-Related Toxicities

More About This Work

Academic Units
Radiation Oncology
Published Here
October 17, 2018