Stevenson, A. F. G.; Cremer, Thomas (1981): Senescence in vitro and ionising radiations—the human diploid fibroblast model. In: Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, Vol. 15, Nr. 1: S. 51-63




The influence of ionising radiations on ageing is still controversial. Since Hayflick established the concept that diploid cells have finite lifespan in vitro, human diploid fibroblast (HDF) cultures have been recognised as a potent experimental model for cytogerontological investigations. In this study HDF cultures in phase II were exposed to acute irradiation with either X-rays on fast neutrons. The replicative potentials and labelling indices with [3H]thymidine were measured post irradiation until the cultures ceased growth in phase III. Cell mortality was measured by cloning. The apparent loss in replicative potential of irradiated mass cultures was wholly attributable to the loss of viable clonogenic cells. The current concept of precocious clonal senescence in vitro as a late effect of irradiation in clonogenic survivors is not supported by the present experiments. Instead, our results suggest that exposure to a single dose of ionising radiations either causes total replicative incapacitation (killing) of HDF cells and their progeny early after irradiation or leaves their replicative potentials unperturbed.