Acceleration of astrocytic differentiation in neural stem cells surviving X-irradiation

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Neural stem cells (NSCs) are highly susceptible to DNA double-strand breaks; however, little is known about the effects of radiation in cells surviving radiation. Although the nestin-positive NSCs predominantly became glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive in differentiation-permissive medium, little or no cells were GFAP positive in proliferation-permissive medium. We found that more than half of the cells surviving X-rays became GFAP positive in proliferation-permissive medium. Moreover, localized irradiation stimulated differentiation of cells outside the irradiated area. These results indicate for the first time that ionizing radiation is able to stimulate astrocyte-specific differentiation of surviving NSCs, whose process is mediated both by the direct activation of nuclear factor-κB and by the indirect bystander effect induced by X-irradiation.

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