Survival curves of normal human cells from a variety of tissues exposed to varying doses of x-irradiation have been constructed, which permit definition of the intrinsic radiation sensitivity of the reproductive power of each cell type.
The mean lethal dose of x-irradiation for all the cells employed, including those from normal and cancerous organs, those exhibiting diploid and polyploid chromosome number; those from embryonic and adult tissues, including recently isolated cells and cultures which had been maintained in vitro for many years, and cells exhibiting either epithelioid or fibroblastic morphology, was found to be contained between the limits of 50 to 150 r.
Other similarities in the pattern of radiation effects, such as giant formation and abortive colonial growth, in these cells and that of the HeLa S3, previously studied, confirm the hypothesis that the pattern of reaction to x-irradiation previously elucidated, is representatative, at least in over-all outline, for a large variety of human cells.
While the radiation survival curves of various human cells are similar in the gross, small but important characterizing differences have been found. All epithelioid cells so far studied are approximately 2-hit, and more radioresistant than the fibroblast-like cells whose survival data correspond to a mean lethal dose of around 60 r, and which so far can be fitted by either 1-hit or 2-hit curves.
The earlier prediction that the major radiobiologic damage to mammalian cells is lodged in the genetic apparatus was confirmed by the demonstration of high frequency of mutants among the survivors of doses of 500 to 900 r.
All the data on the x-radiosensitivity of these cells can be explained on the basis of a defect resulting from primary damage localized in one or more chromosomes.
These considerations afford a convincing explanation of several aspects of the mammalian radiation syndrome.