Chinese hamster V79 cells irradiated in air are hypersensitive to X-ray doses less than 0.5 Gy and show an increased radioresistance over the dose range 0.5-1 Gy (Marples and Joiner, Radiat. Res. 133, 41-51, 1993). Of considerable interest from both a mechanistic and clinical viewpoint is the response of hypoxic cells over this dose range. The data presented here indicate that hypoxic cells are also hypersensitive to low X-ray doses and exhibit an increased radioresistant response, albeit triggered at a somewhat higher dose (0.69 Gy, SEM ± 0.18 Gy) than observed in oxygenated cells (0.5 Gy, SEM ± 0.21 Gy). These data indicate that the triggering event for increased radioresistance may be independent of oxygen. As reported by others previously, the oxygen enhancement ratio was found to decrease with a decreasing X-ray dose.

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