As the use of medical radiation procedures continues to rise, it is imperative to further our understanding of the effects of this exposure. The spleen is not known as a particularly radiosensitive organ, although its tolerance to radiation is not well understood. Low-dose radiation exposure has been implicated in beneficial responses, particularly in cell death and DNA damage repair. In this study, adult male rats received 2, 20, 200 mGy or 4 Gy whole-body X-ray irradiation and the transcriptional response in the spleen was analyzed at 0.5, 4 and 24 h postirradiation. We analyzed expression of genes involved in apoptosis, cell cycle progression and DNA damage repair. As expected, 4 Gy irradiated animals demonstrated elevated expression of genes related to apoptosis at 0.5, 4 and 24 h postirradiation in the spleen. These animals also showed upregulation of DNA damage repair genes at 24 h postirradiation. Interestingly, the spleens of 20 mGy irradiated animals showed reduced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest compared to the spleens of sham-irradiated animals. These results further reveal that the cellular response in the spleen to whole-body irradiation differs between low- and high-dose irradiation.
- Low-dose X-radiation
- Whole-body irradiation