It has been suggested that a mechanistic understanding of the cellular responses to low dose and dose rate may be valuable in reducing some of the uncertainties involved in current risk estimates for cancer- and non-cancer-related radiation effects that are inherited in the linear no-threshold hypothesis. In this study, the effects of low-dose radiation on the proteome in both human fibroblasts and stem cells were investigated. Particular emphasis was placed on examining: 1. the dose-response relationships for the differential expression of proteins in the low-dose range (40–140 mGy) of low-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation; and 2. the effect on differential expression of proteins of a priming dose given prior to a challenge dose (adaptive response effects). These studies were performed on cultured human fibroblasts (VH10) and human adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC). The results from the VH10 cell experiments demonstrated that low-doses of low-LET radiation induced unique patterns of differentially expressed proteins for each dose investigated. In addition, a low priming radiation dose significantly changed the protein expression induced by the subsequent challenge exposure. In the ADSC the number of differentially expressed proteins was markedly less compared to VH10 cells, indicating that ADSC differ in their intrinsic response to low doses of radiation. The proteomic results are further discussed in terms of possible pathways influenced by low-dose irradiation.

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