Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 23, pp 4339–4351 | Cite as

Low-dose radiation accelerates aging of the T-cell receptor repertoire in CBA/Ca mice

  • Serge M. Candéias
  • Justyna Mika
  • Paul Finnon
  • Tom Verbiest
  • Rosemary Finnon
  • Natalie Brown
  • Simon Bouffler
  • Joanna Polanska
  • Christophe Badie
Original Article


While the biological effects of high-dose-ionizing radiation on human health are well characterized, the consequences of low-dose radiation exposure remain poorly defined, even though they are of major importance for radiological protection. Lymphocytes are very radiosensitive, and radiation-induced health effects may result from immune cell loss and/or immune system impairment. To decipher the mechanisms of effects of low doses, we analyzed the modulation of the T-cell receptor gene repertoire in mice exposed to a single low (0.1 Gy) or high (1 Gy) dose of radiation. High-throughput T-cell receptor gene profiling was used to visualize T-lymphocyte dynamics over time in control and irradiated mice. Radiation exposure induces “aging-like” effects on the T-cell receptor gene repertoire, detectable as early as 1 month post-exposure and for at least 6 months. Surprisingly, these effects are more pronounced in animals exposed to 0.1 Gy than to 1 Gy, where partial correction occurs over time. Importantly, we found that low-dose radiation effects are partially due to the hematopoietic stem cell impairment. Collectively, our findings show that acute low-dose radiation exposure specifically results in long-term alterations of the T-lymphocyte repertoire.


Low-dose radiation Immune system T cell receptor Lymphocytes Hematopoietic stem cells 



This work has been supported by the European Commissions [DoReMi, European Atomic Energy Community’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007–2011) under Grant Agreement No. 249689] and National Science Centre Grants HARMONIA 4 No. 2013/08/M/ST6/00924 and OPUS No. 2015/19/B/ST6/01736 (JP). JM was supported by GeCONil project (POIG.02.03.01-24-099).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 1223 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEA, Fundamental Research Division, Biosciences and Biotechnologies InstituteLaboratory of Chemistry and Biology of MetalsGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Laboratory of Chemistry and Biology of MetalsCNRS, UMR5249GrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Laboratory of Chemistry and Biology of Metals, UMR5249University of Grenoble-AlpesGrenobleFrance
  4. 4.Data Mining Group, Faculty of Automatic Control, Electronics and Computer ScienceSilesian University of TechnologyGliwicePoland
  5. 5.Cancer Mechanisms and Biomarkers Group, Radiation Effects DepartmentCRCE, Public Health EnglandDidcotUK

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