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Health Phys. 2010 Feb;98(2):218-27. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181abaae5.

Validating high-throughput micronucleus analysis of peripheral reticulocytes for radiation biodosimetry: benchmark against dicentric and CBMN assays in a mouse model.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Automation of radiation biodosimetry is one of the top priority tasks considered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Homeland Security Council in preparation for the nation's readiness for a possible radionuclear terrorist attack. The Center for Biophysical Assessment and Risk Management Following Irradiation, a consortium of researchers and institutions centered at the University of Rochester, has been investigating automated scoring of radiation-induced micronucleus formation in reticulocytes for high-throughput radiation biodosimetry. The collaborative project is based on a commercially-available product by Litron Laboratories in Rochester, New York. The study was designed to validate the flow-cytometry based analysis of micronucleated reticulocyte expression for radiation biodosimetry by benchmarking against the standard lymphocyte-based biodosimetry methods in a mouse model. C57B1/6 mice and C3H mice were exposed to Cs total-body radiation from 0-3 Gy. Blood samples were subsequently analyzed for CD71+ micronucleated reticulocyte and reticulocyte frequencies by flow cytometry. Results showed a linear dose-response of MN-RET up to 1 Gy for C57B1/6 and 2 Gy for C3H mice. On the other hand, robust and good dose-response curves were obtained with lymphocyte-based dicentric assay and cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay up to 3 Gy. High-throughput, automated analyses of micronucleated reticulocytes is a sensitive and reproducible method for detecting recent radiation exposure. In mice, the dose range of detection is useful up to 1 Gy (C57Bl/6) and 2 Gy (C3H) but not reliable beyond these dose limits. The utilization of this automated analysis for human radiation biodosimetry is currently under investigation.

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