Suppression of Radiation-induced Neoplastic Transformation of Human Cell Hybrids by Long Term Incubation at Low Extracellular pH

Marc S. Mendonca, Ch'i Sun, J. Leslie Redpath

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11 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that, when 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-l-pipera-zineethanesulfonic acid buffer was used in the growth medium to control pH fluctuations during the 21-day expression period of our human cell hybrid (HeLa × skin fibroblast) transformation assay, the yield of radiation-induced neoplastically transformed foci after 7 Gy of gamma-irradiation was suppressed. We now demonstrate that the observed suppression is not related to the presence of the 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-l-piperazineethanesulfonic acid buffer per se but rather is a function of the growth medium pH. Detailed studies reveal that incubation of the irradiated cells during the entire 21–day expression period at pH 6.7–6.8 versus pH 7.0–7.2 significantly suppressed the transformation frequency after 7 Gy, from 4.4 × 10−4 to 4.6 × 10−5 (accumulated data). The endpoint fraction of flasks containing foci was also significantly reduced at the lower pH. Suppression was evident whether the growth medium pH was lowered from pH 7.0–7.2 to pH 6.7–6.8 by medium exchange on day 0, 1, or 9 or even up to 15 days post-irradiation. Growth curves revealed that the population doubling time of the cells is extended and the unirradiated and irradiated plating efficiencies are lowered by long term low pH exposure. We discuss possible mechanisms for the observed suppression, in terms of the influence of low extracellular pH on cell turnover, repair of radiation damage, cell toxicity, and activity of cellular proteases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2123-2127
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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