Edelmann, M., Gamarra, F., Kemp da Silva, A., Hornung, V., Castro, M., Passlick, B., Huber, R. M. and Bergner, A. Cell Cycle Effects of Radiation on Human Bronchial Epithelium and Lung Carcinoma Cells in Monolayer Cultures and a Three-Dimensional Co-culture System. Radiat. Res. 164, 391–399 (2005).

The aim of this study was to investigate whether the three-dimensional structure of the bronchial tissue and the contact of non-malignant with malignant cells influence the effectiveness of radiotherapy. Monolayer cultures of cells of the human bronchial epithelial cell line BEAS 2B, monolayer co-cultures of BEAS 2B cells and cells of the GFP-transfected lung carcinoma cell line EPLC 32M1, organ cultures of human bronchial epithelium, and organ co-cultures with EPLC 32M1 cells were irradiated with 10 Gy, and the DNA content was analyzed using flow cytometry. In non-malignant epithelial cells, BEAS 2B monolayer cultures without tumor cells were highly radiosensitive. However, contact with tumor cells in monolayer co-cultures markedly reduced radiosensitivity. Non-malignant cells in three-dimensional organ cultures and organ co-cultures with tumor cells showed moderate radiosensitivity. In EPLC 32M1 tumor cells, proliferation was increased without irradiation when the cells were in contact with epithelial cells in both organ and monolayer co-cultures. Radiosensitivity was higher in organ co-cultures than in monolayer cultures and monolayer co-cultures. These data indicate that organ co-cultures in combination with flow cytometry allow investigation of the effects of radiation in an in vivo-like environment and that both the spatial organization and the interaction of non-malignant and tumor cells are crucial for the effectiveness of radiotherapy.

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