Although recent studies have shown that radiation can induce metallothionein (MT) synthesis in normal tissues, the induction of tumor MT synthesis by irradiation has not been reported. We examined the accumulation of MT in the Meth-A tumor (mouse fibrosarcoma cells) transplanted into mice exposed to wholebody X irradiation. In the present study, the MT content in the tumor cells was increased by X irradiation in a dose-dependent manner. The MT level induced in the tumor cells by X irradiation was elevated not only after a single exposure but also after repeated exposures. Several studies have shown that MT is one of the important cellular factors in resistance to various anticancer drugs and ionizing radiation. Thus our results suggest that the radiation-induced MT in the tumor cells may have to be taken into consideration when designing protocols for radio- and chemotherapy.

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