Are mouse lens epithelial cells more sensitive to γ-irradiation than lymphocytes?

Kristina Bannik, Ute Rössler, Theresa Faus-Kessler, Maria Gomolka, Sabine Hornhardt, Claudia Dalke, Olena Klymenko, Michael Rosemann, Klaus Rüdiger Trott, Michael Atkinson, Ulrike Kulka, Jochen Graw

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21 Scopus citations


In this pilot study we compared for the first time the radiation sensitivity of mouse lens epithelial cells (LECs) and mouse lymphocytes. We freshly prepared LECs and lymphocytes and irradiated them with γ-rays (137Cs; doses ranging from 0.25 to 2 Gy). DNA damage and repair were evaluated by alkaline comet assay and γH2AX foci assay. Using the comet assay, we observed a dose-dependent increase in DNA damage in both cell types. The faster formation of single- and double-strand breaks in LECs of C57BL/6 mice at doses below 1 Gy needs to be confirmed in other mouse strains. Immunofluorescence for γH2AX foci showed a higher degree of lesions in LECs from C57BL/6J mice compared to those of JF1 mice and to lymphocytes of both strains. Correspondingly, repair of DNA damage proceeded faster in LECs of C57BL/6J mice compared to LECs of JF1 mice and lymphocytes of both strains. It is obvious that the lymphocytes of both strains repaired DNA lesions more slowly than the corresponding LECs. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that LECs of C57Bl/6 mice show a steeper dose-response than lymphocytes in both types of experiments. It shows that both test systems are able to be used also at doses below 0.25 Gy. The observed difference in DNA repair between the LECs from C57BL/6J mice compared to the LECs from JF1 mice and to the lymphocytes of both strains warrants further experiments to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-286
Number of pages8
JournalRadiation and Environmental Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Comet assay
  • Gamma-H2AX assay
  • Gamma-irradiation
  • Lens epithelial cells
  • Lymphocytes
  • Radiation sensitivity


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