We investigated the role of initial DNA and chromosome damage in determining the radiosensitivity difference between the variant murine leukemic lymphoblast cell lines L5178Y-S (sensitive) and L5178Y-R (resistant) and the difference in cell cycle-dependent variations in radiosensitivity of L5178Y-S cells. We measured initial DNA damage (by the neutral filter elution method) and chromosome damage (by the premature chromosome condensation method) and compared them with survival (measured by cloning) for both cell lines synchronized in G1 or G2 phase of the cell cycle (by centrifugal elutriation) and irradiated with low doses of X rays (up to 10 Gy). The initial yield of DNA and chromosome damage in G2 L5178Y-S cells was almost twice that in G1 L5178Y-S cells and G1 or G2 L5178Y-R cells. In all cases DNA damage expressed as relative elution corresponded with chromosome damage (breaks in G1 chromosomes, breaks and gaps in G2 chromosomes). Also we found that the initial DNA and chromosome damage did not determine cell age-dependent radiosensitivity variations in L5178Y-S cells, as there was less initial damage in the more sensitive G1 phase than in the G2 phase. L5178Y-R cells showed only small changes in survival or initial yield of DNA and chromosome damage throughout the cell cycle. Because survival and initial damage in sensitive and resistant cells irradiated in G2 phase correlated, the difference in radiosensitivity between L5178Y-S and L5178Y-R cells might be determined by initial damage in G2 phase only.

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