Newly synthesized DNA in previously irradiated and isoproterenol-stimulated mouse salivary gland cells was found to be quickly degraded when the stimulation for DNA synthesis was given 10 days after a dose of 1000 rad γ radiation. The degradation of the DNA was due to degeneration of acinar cells prior to mitosis. When the stimulation with isoproterenol was given 1 or 3 months after irradiation, DNA degradation in parotids was not detectable. An autoradiographic analysis revealed, however, that about half of the acinar cells labeled with tritiated thymidine were eliminated from irradiated parotids in a few days, even when the stimulation with isoproterenol was given 3 months after irradiation. This indicates that irradiation of mouse salivary gland cells produced latent lethal damage and that this damage is unmasked by the stimulation for DNA synthesis and cell division.

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