Considerable effort in our laboratory has been directed toward characterizing the role of apoptosis as a mode of cell death in model tumors irradiated in vivo. These studies have shown that apoptosis is an important response in some tumors, correlating with tumor growth delay and tumor cure. However, the response is heterogeneous among both the various tumors examined and the cells in a given tumor, suggesting that the propensity for cells to undergo apoptosis upon irradiation is regulated by unknown factors in tumors. To develop a model system for investigating these regulatory pathways in vitro at the molecular and biochemical levels, we have established cells from a tumor that displays a dramatic apoptotic response in vivo, the TH lymphoma, in cell culture. In this article, we review some of the results of our studies using this model system. To date, we have shown that the dose-response relationship and kinetics of the development of apoptosis for these cells in culture are similar to what we observed for the tumor response in vivo. Moreover, the roles of calcium and signal transduction pathways as important regulatory factors in radiation-induced apoptosis have been defined in this system. Ultimately such investigations may yield the insight necessary for designing protocols to modulate apoptosis biochemically in irradiated normal and tumor tissues to therapeutic advantage.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.