Effect of Radiation Dose on Cell Dynamics

Exposure of cells with high mitotic activity to high dose radiation would result in severe delay in mitotic activity for an extended period before the mitotic rate would return to normal; exposure of cells with high mitotic activity to moderate doses of radiation would result in moderate delay in the mitotic activity for a moderate period, which would be followed by a moderate increase in mitotic activity for a short period before the mitotic rate would return to normal (Figure 4).2,6,8

Figure 4. Change of mitotic rate as a function of dose and time.
Change of mitotic rate as a function of dose and time

Exposure of cells with high mitotic activity to low dose radiation would result in initial mild delay in mitotic activity followed by a short period of increased mitosis before the mitotic rate would return to normal.2,6,8 In association with dental radiography neither short-term nor long-term effects of radiation on mitotic activity are discernable.2,5-7,11 However, to minimize exposure and maximize diagnostic yield follow the dictum of ALARA - As Low As Reasonably Achievable.