Exposure to ionizing radiation greatly increases the risk of developing papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), especially during childhood, mainly due to gradual inactivation of DNA repair genes and DNA damages. Recent molecular characterization of PTC revealed DNA methylation deregulation of several promoters of DNA repair genes. Thus, epigenetic silencing might be a plausible mechanism for the activity loss of tumor suppressor genes in radiation-induced thyroid tumors. Herein, we investigated the impact of ionizing radiation on global methylation and CpG islands within promoter regions of homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) genes, as well as its effects on gene expression, using two well-established normal differentiated thyroid cell lines (FRTL5 and PCCL3). Our data reveal that X-ray exposure promoted G2/M arrest in normal thyroid cell lines. The FRTL5 cells displayed a slower kinetics of double-strand breaks (DSB) repair and a lower long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) methylation than the PCCL3 cells. Nevertheless, acute X-ray exposure does not alter the expression of genes involved in HR and NHEJ pathways, apart from the downregulation of Brca1 in thyroid cells. On the other hand, HR and NHEJ gene expressions were upregulated in radiation-induced senescent thyroid cells. Taken together, these data suggest that FRTL5 cells intrinsically have less efficient DNA DSB repair machinery than PCCL3 cells, as well as genomic instability, which could predispose the FRTL5 cells to unrepaired DSB lesions and, therefore, gene mutations.
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Vol. 188 • No. 2