Three inhibitors of mammalian cell respiration, rotenone, antimycin A, and oligomycin, were tested for their effects on the oxygen utilization and radiation response of multicell spheroids. All three agents rapidly inhibited the oxygen utilization of peripheral cells of intact spheroids, leading to a progressive increase in radiosensitivity as oxygen reached the centrally located cells. Virtually complete reoxygenation of the spheroid cells was observed with only 0.12 μM rotenone, whereas a similar radiation response with antimycin A or oligomycin required concentrations of 10 and 250 μM, respectively.

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