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Special Issue "Epigenetic Effects and Non-DNA Targets of Ionizing Radiation"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biophysics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mauro Belli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
independent researcher (formerly: Istituto Superiore Di Sanità, Rome, Italy)
Interests: radiation biology; radiation effects; DNA damage; DNA repair; charged particles; radiation protection; low doses; radiation therapy; hadrontherapy; radiation epigenetics
Prof. Antonella Sgura
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sciences, Università Roma Tre, Viale G. Marconi 446, 00146 Rome, Italy
Interests: Tionizing radiation; electromagnetic waves; radiation biology; chromosome aberrations; micronuclei induction; chromosome structure; cellular senescence
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Radiation science, in particular that dealing with ionizing radiation, is a relatively recent discipline, since our scientific community first became aware of it just a little over a century ago, with the discovery of X-rays and natural radioactivity. After some initial enthusiastic attempts to treat nearly every kind of illness or discomfort with this radiation, the discovery of its harmful effects brought its practical applications in health sciences to a fork, separating them into radiation therapy and radiation protection. In both cases, the underlying basic mechanisms are almost always assumed to be related to the “radiation damage” of the DNA in the irradiated cells.

However, in recent decades, evidence of the non-DNA targeted effects of ionizing radiation, such as bystander/abscopal effects and adaptive response, have raised concerns about the magnitude of low-dose radiation risk and supported the view that radiation induces cell response other than “radiation damage”. Epigenetic and other non-DNA-targeted effects appear to be related and involved in a variety of cell responses to ionizing radiation, including mitochondrial and extranuclear modifications and triggering of defense mechanisms of the cell. Therefore, even though the existence of radiation-induced DNA damage is not in doubt, it must be considered that the cellular and molecular modifications following radiation exposure are much more complex, and particularly relevant at low doses.

This Special Issue is focused on collecting significant works on this topic, including original research, reviews, and commentaries, so as to provide an open-source of information that can help to formulate a more comprehensive and broader view of cellular and molecular response to ionizing radiation, which will be useful not only for the advancement of radiation biology but also for applications in radiation protection and therapy.

Dr. Mauro Belli
Prof. Antonella Sgura
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Adaptive response
  • Bystander effect
  • Chromatin structure
  • DNA damage
  • DNA methylation
  • DNA repair
  • Epigenetics
  • Genome instability
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Non-coding RNA
  • Non-targeted effects
  • Senescence

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Molecular Hydrogen as a Potential Clinically Applicable Radioprotective Agent
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 4566; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094566 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 842
Although ionizing radiation (radiation) is commonly used for medical diagnosis and cancer treatment, radiation-induced damages cannot be avoided. Such damages can be classified into direct and indirect damages, caused by the direct absorption of radiation energy into DNA and by free radicals, such [...] Read more.
Although ionizing radiation (radiation) is commonly used for medical diagnosis and cancer treatment, radiation-induced damages cannot be avoided. Such damages can be classified into direct and indirect damages, caused by the direct absorption of radiation energy into DNA and by free radicals, such as hydroxyl radicals (•OH), generated in the process of water radiolysis. More specifically, radiation damage concerns not only direct damages to DNA, but also secondary damages to non-DNA targets, because low-dose radiation damage is mainly caused by these indirect effects. Molecular hydrogen (H2) has the potential to be a radioprotective agent because it can selectively scavenge •OH, a reactive oxygen species with strong oxidizing power. Animal experiments and clinical trials have reported that H2 exhibits a highly safe radioprotective effect. This paper reviews previously reported radioprotective effects of H2 and discusses the mechanisms of H2, not only as an antioxidant, but also in intracellular responses including anti-inflammation, anti-apoptosis, and the regulation of gene expression. In doing so, we demonstrate the prospects of H2 as a novel and clinically applicable radioprotective agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Effects and Non-DNA Targets of Ionizing Radiation)
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