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29 July 2021 Early Responses to Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation in Cellular Lens Epithelial Models
Maryam Ahmadi, Stephen Barnard, Elizabeth Ainsbury, Munira Kadhim
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Cataract is the leading cause of visual impairment which can result in blindness. Cataract formation has been associated with radiation exposure; however, the mechanistic understanding of this phenomenon is still lacking. The goal of this study was to investigate mechanisms of cataract induction in isolated lens epithelial cells (LEC) exposed to ionizing radiation. Human LECs from different genetic backgrounds (SV40 immortalized HLE-B3 and primary HLEC cells) were exposed to varying doses of 137Cs gamma rays (0, 0.1, 0.25 and 0.5 Gy), at low (0.065 Gy/min) and higher (0.3 Gy/min) dose rates. Different assays were used to measure LEC response for, e.g., viability, oxidative stress, DNA damage studies, senescence and changes to telomere length/telomerase activity at two time points (1 h and 24 h, or 24 h and 15 days, depending on the type of assay and expected response time). The viability of cells decreased in a dose-dependent manner within 24 h of irradiation. Measurement of reactive oxygen species showed an increase at 1 h postirradiation, which was alleviated within 24 h. This was consistent with DNA damage results showing high DNA damage after 1 h postirradiation which reduced significantly (but not completely) within 24 h. Induction of senescence was also observed 15 days postirradiation, but this was not attributed to telomere erosion or telomerase activity reduction. Overall, these findings provide a mechanistic understanding of low-dose radiation-induced cataractogenesis which will ultimately help to inform judgements on the magnitude of risk and improve existing radiation protection procedures.

©2022 by Radiation Research Society. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.
Maryam Ahmadi, Stephen Barnard, Elizabeth Ainsbury, and Munira Kadhim "Early Responses to Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation in Cellular Lens Epithelial Models," Radiation Research 197(1), 78-91, (29 July 2021).
Received: 20 December 2020; Accepted: 6 July 2021; Published: 29 July 2021
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