Resting lymphocytes are sensitive to radiation damage and die by apoptosis. We investigated the effect of caspase-inhibitors on radiation induced apoptosis in human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Lymphocytes were irradiated in vitro with 5 Gy 60 Co-γ-rays and cultured for 24 hours in the presence or absence of the caspase-inhibitors zVAD-fmk and zDEVD-fmk. Cell death was evaluated by electron microscopy. Irradiation in the absence of the inhibitors resulted in about 30% dead cells, almost all showing typical apoptotic morphologies. Addition of either one of the inhibitors could not rescue cells from death. Part of the dead lymphocytes (about 65%) still showed typical nuclear characteristics of apoptotic cells: sharply marginated, condensed chromatin, clumped into one sphere or into a crescent shaped mass. The remaining part of the dead cells had ultrastructural characteristics, aberrant from apoptic cells: clumping of the chromatin was less pronounced and less sharply marginated. Irregular clumps were formed. Data indicate that part of the lymphocytes go in apoptosis in a caspase-independent way. The other part shows caspase-dependent apoptosis with respect to the nuclear events.
Apoptosis – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2004
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