Photon hormesis deactivates alpha-particle induced bystander effects between zebrafish embryos

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3 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Journal / PublicationRadiation Physics and Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


In the present work, we studied the effects of low-dose X-ray photons on the alpha-particle induced bystander effects between embryos of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. The effects on the naive whole embryos were studied through quantification of apoptotic signals (amounts of cells undergoing apoptosis) at 24 h post fertilization (hpf) using vital dye acridine orange staining, followed by counting the stained cells under a fluorescent microscope. We report data showing that embryos at 5 hpf subjected to a 4.4 mGy alpha-particle irradiation could release a stress signal into the medium, which could induce bystander effect in partnered naive embryos sharing the same medium. We also report that the bystander effect was deactivated when the irradiated embryos were subjected to a concomitant irradiation of 10 or 14 mGy of X-rays, but no such deactivation was achieved if the concomitant X-ray dose dropped to 2.5 or 5 mGy. In the present study, the significant drop in the amount of apoptotic signals on the embryos having received 4.4 mGy alpha particles together X-rays irradiation from 2.5 or 5 mGy to 10 or 14 mGy, together with the deactivation of RIBE with concomitant irradiation of 10 or 14 mGy of X-rays supported the participation of photon hormesis with an onset dose between 5 and 10 mGy, which might lead to removal of aberrant cells through early apoptosis or induction of high-fidelity DNA repair. As we found that photons and alpha particles could have opposite biological effects when these were simultaneously irradiated onto living organisms, these ionizing radiations could be viewed as two different environmental stressors, and the resultant effects could be regarded as multiple stressor effects. The present work presented the first study on a multiple stressor effect which occurred on bystander organisms. In other words, this was a non-targeted multiple stressor effect. The photon hormesis could also explain some failed attempts to observe neutron-induced bystander effects in previous studies, as neutron sources invariably emit neutrons with concomitant gamma-ray photons, which is often referred to as gamma-ray contamination.

Research Area(s)

  • Gamma-ray hormesis, Ionizing radiation, Zebrafish embryos