Melanin decreases clastogenic effects of ionizing radiation in human and mouse somatic cells and modifies the radioadaptive response
Melanin’s influence on the chromosome aberration frequency induced by radiation in human lymphocytes and mouse bone marrow cells has been studied. We revealed earlier that melanin significantly decreases the frequencies of different radiation-induced mutations in animal germ cells. Melanin protection in somatic cells has been found to be less effective. The melanin effect in somatic cells depends on radiation dose: the lower the damage level, the better the melanin protection. In order to determine the influence of melanin at low radiation doses, the adaptive response was investigated in mouse bone marrow cells in vivo. The level of chromosome aberrations in these cells after fractionated irradiation of 0.2 Gy+1.5 Gy with a 4-h interval was about half that after a single dose of 1.7 Gy. If melanin was injected prior to irradiation, the aberration level decreased by a factor of about two in both cases. This observed result may be due to the potential radioprotective effect of melanin and to the absence of any adaptive response, whereas in the case of melanin application between the priming and challenge doses, the combined effect of the adaptive response as well as melanin protection resulted in a 4-fold decrease of chromosome aberrations. These results allow us to draw the following conclusions: adaptive response can be prevented by a radioprotector such as melanin, and melanin is capable of completely removing low-dose radiation effects.
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