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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1971; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091971

Ionizing Radiation and Human Health: Reviewing Models of Exposure and Mechanisms of Cellular Damage. An Epigenetic Perspective

1
European Cancer and Environment Research-ECERI, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
2
Euro Mediterranean Scientific Biomedical Institute-ISBEM Research Centre, 72023 Mesagne (Brindisi), Italy
3
Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, 56126 Pisa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Carcinogens)
Full-Text   |   PDF [307 KB, uploaded 10 September 2018]

Abstract

We reviewed available evidence in medical literature concerning experimental models of exposure to ionizing radiations (IR) and their mechanisms of producing damages on living organisms. The traditional model is based on the theory of “stochastic breakage” of one or both strands of the DNA double helix. According to this model, high doses may cause the breaks, potentially lethal to the cell by damaging both DNA strands, while low doses of IR would cause essentially single strands breaks, easily repairable, resulting in no permanent damages. The available evidence makes this classical model increasingly less acceptable, because the exposure to low doses of IR seems to have carcinogenic effects, even after years or decades, both in the exposed individuals and in subsequent generations. In addition, the cells that survived the exposure to low doses, despite being apparently normal, accumulate damages that become evident in their progeny, such as nonclonal chromosomal aberrations, which can be found even in cells not directly irradiated due to the exchange of molecular signals and complex tissue reactions involving neighboring or distant cells. For all these reasons, a paradigm shift is needed, based on evidence and epigenetics. View Full-Text
Keywords: ionizing radiations; cellular damage; carcinogenic mechanisms; epigenetic mechanisms ionizing radiations; cellular damage; carcinogenic mechanisms; epigenetic mechanisms
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Burgio, E.; Piscitelli, P.; Migliore, L. Ionizing Radiation and Human Health: Reviewing Models of Exposure and Mechanisms of Cellular Damage. An Epigenetic Perspective. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1971.

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