Elevation of glutathione induced by low-dose gamma rays and its involvement in increased natural killer activity

Shuji Kojima, Hirokazu Ishida, Mareyuki Takahashi, Kiyonori Yamaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the relationship between the induction of an increase in the level of glutathione and the elevation of natural killer (NK) activity in mouse splenocytes by a low dose of γ rays. The glutathione levels in mouse splenocytes increased significantly between 2 h and 6 h after whole-body γ irradiation at 0.5 Gy, peaked at 4 h, and then decreased almost to the level before irradiation by 12 h postirradiation. A significant enhancement of NK activity was found in the splenocytes obtained from whole-body-irradiated mice between 4 and 6 h postirradiation. Reduced glutathione (GSH) added exogenously to splenocytes obtained from normal mice enhanced both the total cellular glutathione content and the NK activity in a dosedependent manner. Other precursors of de nava GSH synthesis, such as cysteine, N-acetylcysteine and oxidized glutathione, also increased the activity. These enhancements were completely blocked by buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of de nava GSH synthesis. We conclude that the induction of endogenous glutathione in living cells immediately after low-dose γirradiation is at least partially responsible for the appearance of enhanced NK activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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