This in vitro study evaluated the detrimental effect of acute gamma (γ)-irradiation on rat immature hippocampal neurons. Rat immature hippocampal neurons (0.5 day in vitro) were irradiated with 0~4 Gy γ-rays. Cytotoxicity was analyzed using a lactate dehydrogenase release assay at 24 h after γ-irradiation. Radiation-induced cytotoxicity in immature hippocampal neurons increased in a dose-dependent manner. Pre-treatments of pro-apoptotic caspase inhibitors and anti-oxidative substances significantly blocked γ-irradiation-induced cytotoxicity in immature hippocampal neurons. The results suggest that the caspase-dependent cytotoxicity of γ-rays in immature hippocampal cultured neurons may be caused by oxidative stress
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