Alteration of cytokine profiles in mice exposed to chronic low-dose ionizing radiation

Suk Chul Shin, Kyung Mi Lee, Yu Mi Kang, Kwanghee Kim, Cha Soon Kim, Kwang Hee Yang, Young Woo Jin, Chong Soon Kim, Hee Sun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


While a high-dose of ionizing radiation is generally harmful and causes damage to living organisms, a low-dose of radiation has been shown to be beneficial in a variety of animal models. To understand the basis for the effect of low-dose radiation in vivo, we examined the cellular and immunological changes evoked in mice exposed to low-dose radiation at very low (0.7mGy/h) and low (3.95mGy/h) dose rate for the total dose of 0.2 and 2Gy, respectively. Mice exposed to low-dose radiation, either at very low- or low-dose rate, demonstrated normal range of body weight and complete blood counts. Likewise, the number and percentage of peripheral lymphocyte populations, CD4+ T, CD8+ T, B, or NK cells, stayed unchanged following irradiation. Nonetheless, the sera from these mice exhibited elevated levels of IL-3, IL-4, leptin, MCP-1, MCP-5, MIP-1α, thrombopoietin, and VEGF along with slight reduction of IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17, and IFN-γ. This pattern of cytokine release suggests the stimulation of innate immunity facilitating myeloid differentiation and activation while suppressing pro-inflammatory responses and promoting differentiation of naïve T cells into T-helper 2, not T-helper 1, types. Collectively, our data highlight the subtle changes of cytokine milieu by chronic low-dose γ-radiation, which may be associated with the functional benefits observed in various experimental models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-649
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Miss Hee-won Jang and Miss Seung-yeon Song for helpful experiments. This work was supported by Grant No. E09NS02 from the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. K.-M. Lee is supported by a Grant from KICOS ( K20704000007-09A0500-00710 ) and the National Nuclear R&D program (Grant BAERI). K. Kim is supported by K20601000002-09E0100-00210 .


  • Adaptive response
  • Cytokine
  • Hormesis
  • Low-dose radiation
  • Lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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