Scanning Microscopy


A short review of the evidence that lymphocyte membranes are a target for the initiation of irradiation induced programmed cell death (PCD) is given. It is assumed that for lymphocytes PCD represents an essential physiological mechanism in order to prevent degeneration of the biological system involved. Initiation of PCD can be obtained by a pharmacological activation as well as with irradiation. In both cases, protein kinase-C (PKC) is involved in the signal transduction from the cellular membrane to the nucleus where, by means of a metabolically active process, DNA fragmentation is induced. It is hypothesized that processes connected to lipid peroxidation in the cell membrane constitute a primary effect of irradiation induced PCD, where membrane fluidization or a compensatory process aimed to the maintenance of membrane fluidity (membrane homeoviscosity hypothesis) are likely to be involved.

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