Original Paper

Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 437-445

First online:

Dendro[C60]fullerene DF-1 provides radioprotection to radiosensitive mammalian cells

  • Corey A. TheriotAffiliated withNASA—Johnson Space Center
  • , Rachael C. CaseyAffiliated withUniversities Space Research Association
  • , Valerie C. MooreAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • , Linsey MitchellAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • , Julia O. ReynoldsAffiliated withCentenary College of Louisiana
  • , Madeline BurgoyneAffiliated withCentenary College of Louisiana
  • , Ranga ParthaAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • , Janice L. HuffAffiliated withUniversities Space Research Association
  • , Jodie L. ConyersAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    • , Antony JeevarajanAffiliated withNASA—Johnson Space Center
    • , Honglu WuAffiliated withNASA—Johnson Space Center Email author 

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In this study, the ability of the C60 fullerene derivative DF-1 to protect radiosensitive cells from the effects of high doses of gamma irradiation was examined. Earlier reports of DF-1’s lack of toxicity in these cells were confirmed, and DF-1 was also observed to protect both human lymphocytes and rat intestinal crypt cells against radiation-induced cell death. We determined that DF-1 protected both cell types against radiation-induced DNA damage, as measured by inhibition of micronucleus formation. DF-1 also reduced the levels of reactive oxygen species in the crypt cells, a unique capability of fullerenes because of their enhanced reactivity toward electron-rich species. The ability of DF-1 to protect against the cytotoxic effects of radiation was comparable to that of amifostine, another ROS-scavenging radioprotector. Interestingly, localization of fluorescently labeled DF-1 in fibroblast was observed throughout the cell. Taken together, these results suggest that DF-1 provides powerful protection against several deleterious cellular consequences of irradiation in mammalian systems including oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cell death.