Responses of synchronous L5178Y S/S cells to heavy ions and their significance for radiobiological theory

J. T. Lett, A. B. Cox, M. D. Story, U. K. Ehmann, E. A. Blakely

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14 Scopus citations


Synchronous suspensions of the radiosensitive S/S variant of the L5178Y murine leukaemic lymphoblast at different positions in the cell cycle were exposed aerobically to segments of heavy-ion beams (20Ne, 28Si, 40Ar, 56Fe and 93Nb) in the Bragg plateau regions of energy deposition. The incident energies of the ion beams were in the range of 460 ± 95 MeV u-1, and the calculated values of linear energy transfer (LET∞) for the primary nuclei in the irradiated samples were 33 ± 3, 60 ± 3, 95 ± 5, 213 ± 21 and 478 ± 36 keV μm-1, respectively; 280 kVp X-rays were used as the baseline radiation. Generally, the maxima or inflections in relations between relative biological effectiveness (RBE) and LET∞ were dependent upon the cycle position at which the cells were irradiated. Certain of those relations were influenced by post-irradiation hypothermia. Irradiation in the cell cycle at mid-G1 to mid-G1 + 3 h, henceforth called G1 to G1 + 3 h, resulted in survival curves that were close approximations to simple exponential functions. As the LET∞ was increased, the RBE did not exceed 1.0, and by 478 keV μm-1 it had fallen to 0.39. Although similar behaviour has been reported for inactivation of proteins and certain viruses by ionizing radiations, so far the response of the S/S variant is unique for mammalian cells. The slope of the survival curve for X-photons (D0: 0.27 Gy) is reduced in G1 to G1 + 3 h by post-irradiation incubation at hypothermic temperatures and reaches a minimum (D0: 0.51 Gy) at 25°C. As the LET∞ was increased, however, the extent of hypothermic recovery was reduced progressively and essentially was eliminated at 478 keV μm-1. At the cycle position where the peak of radioresistance to X-photons occurs for S/S cells, G1 + 8 h, increases in LET∞ elicited only small increases in RBE (at 10% survival), until a maximum was reached around 200 keV μm-1. At 478 keV μm-1, what little remained of the variation in response through the cell cycle could be attributed to secondary radiations (δ rays) and smaller nuclei produced by fragmentation of the primary ions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-42
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1286
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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