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α-Particle Irradiated Zebrafish Embryos Rescued by Bystander Unirradiated Zebrafish Embryos

Choi, V. W. Y., Ng, C. Y. P., Cheng, S. H., Yu, K. N.
Environmental Science & Technology 2012 v.46 no.1 pp. 226-231
DNA damage, Danio rerio, acridine orange, apoptosis, irradiation, staining
We report data demonstrating that zebrafish embryos irradiated by α-particles can release a stress signal into the water, which can be communicated to the unirradiated zebrafish embryos sharing the same water medium, and then these unirradiated zebrafish embryos can release a feedback stress signal back to the irradiated embryos. The effects of radiation on the whole embryos were studied through quantification of apoptotic signals at 24 h post fertilization through staining with the vital dye acridine orange, followed by counting the stained cells under a microscope. We refer to this phenomenon as the “rescue effect”, where the unirradiated embryos successfully helped the irradiated embryos mitigate the radiation induced DNA damages. The results showed that the number of apoptotic signals in the irradiated embryos was smaller when they were partnered with bystander unirradiated embryos in the same medium. The results also showed significantly fewer apoptotic signals in the irradiated embryos when the population of bystander embryos increased from 10 to 30, while keeping the population of irradiated embryos at 10. These data suggest that the stress communicated between the unirradiated zebrafish embryos and the irradiated embryos sharing the same medium will help “rescue” the irradiated embryos, and that the strength of the rescue effect depends on the number of rescuing bystander unirradiated embryos.