Many low-level environmental agents are able to induce an increased resistance to subsequent mutagenic effects induced by ionizing radiation. In this paper, an induced cytogenetic adaptation to radiation in human lymphocytes was studied with mild hyperthermia as the adaptive treatment and compared with that induced by low-dose radiation. We found that this adaptation could be induced not only in PHA-stimulated human lymphocytes (at 14, 38 and 42 h after addition of PHA), but also in unstimulated <tex-math>${\rm G}_{0}\text{-phase}$</tex-math> cells (before addition of PHA) by mild hyperthermia (41°C for 1 h) as well as 50 mGy X rays. When the two adaptive treatments were combined, no additive effects on the magnitude of the adaptation induced were observed, suggesting that low-dose radiation and hyperthermia may share one mechanism of induction of adaptation to cytogenetic damage. Some mechanisms which may be involved in the induction of adaptation to cytogenetic damage by low-dose radiation are discussed and compared with the effects of mild hyperthermia in inducing thermotolerance and radioresistance.

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