Nakamura, H., Yasui, Y., Saito, N., Tachibana, A., Komatsu, K. and Ishizaki, K. DNA Repair Defect in AT Cells and their Hypersensitivity to Low-Dose-Rate Radiation. Radiat. Res. 165, 277–282 (2006).
Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) and normal cells immortalized with the human telomerase gene were irradiated in non-proliferative conditions with high- (2 Gy/min) or low-dose-rate (0.3 mGy/min) radiation. While normal cells showed a higher resistance after irradiation at a low dose rate than a high dose rate, AT cells showed virtually the same survival after low- and high-dose-rate irradiation. Although the frequency of micronuclei induced by low-dose-rate radiation was greatly reduced in normal cells, it was not reduced significantly in AT cells. The number of γ-H2AX foci increased in proportion to the dose in both AT and normal cells after high-dose-rate irradiation. Although few γ-H2AX foci were observed after low-dose-rate irradiation in normal cells, significant and dose-dependent numbers of γ-H2AX foci were observed in AT cells even after low-dose-rate irradiation, indicating that DNA damage was not completely repaired during low-dose-rate irradiation. Significant phosphorylation of ATM proteins was detected in normal cells after low-dose-rate irradiation, suggesting that the activation of ATM plays an important role in the repair of DNA damage during low-dose-rate irradiation. In conclusion, AT cells may not be able to repair some fraction of DNA damage and are severely affected by low-dose-rate radiation.