The effect of melanin on the bystander effect in human keratinocytes.

Research paper by I I Mosse, P P Marozik, C C Seymour, C C Mothersill

Indexed on: 18 Jan '06Published on: 18 Jan '06Published in: Mutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis


The influence of melanin on radiation-induced bystander effects has been studied. Melanin is known to be a natural substance with proved radioprotective properties in different organisms and cell lines. It is non-toxic and is effective against acute and chronic irradiation. The lower the radiation dose, the higher the relative impact of melanin protection. In this study influence of melanin on human keratinocytes (HPV-G cells) has been studied using the colony-forming assay. We have shown that bystander donor medium from 0.5 Gy irradiated cells when transferred to unirradiated cells, caused almost the same effect as direct irradiation. Melanin increased the colony-forming ability of bystander recipient cells when it was added into culture medium before irradiation. The effect of melanin added after irradiation was to produce less protection in both the directly irradiated and bystander medium treated groups. The absorption spectrum of the filtered medium is identical to one of the intact culture medium showing that melanin was not present in filtered medium. Thus, it cannot protect recipient cells but reduces the amount of the bystander effect. It is concluded that melanin added before irradiation effectively decreased the radiation dose. The reduction of the impact of the bystander signal on recipient cells when melanin was added to the donor medium after harvest but before filtration, may mean that the bystander signal has a physical component as melanin can absorb all types of physical energy.