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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 15;94(8):3765-70.

Mutagenic effects of a single and an exact number of alpha particles in mammalian cells.

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  • 1Center for Radiological Research, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. TKH1@columbia.edu

Abstract

One of the main uncertainties in risk estimation for environmental radon exposure using lung cancer data from underground miners is the extrapolation from high- to low-dose exposure where multiple traversal is extremely rare. The biological effects of a single alpha particle are currently unknown. Using the recently available microbeam source at the Radiological Research Accelerator Facility at Columbia University, we examined the frequencies and molecular spectrum of S1- mutants induced in human-hamster hybrid (A(L)) cells by either a single or an exact number of alpha particles. Exponentially growing cells were stained briefly with a nontoxic concentration of Hoechst dye for image analysis, and the location of individual cells was computer-monitored. The nucleus of each cell was irradiated with either 1,2,4, or 8 alpha particles at a linear energy transfer of 90 keV/microm consistent with the energy spectrum of domestic radon exposure. Although single-particle traversal was only slightly cytotoxic to A(L) cells (survival fraction approximately 0.82), it was highly mutagenic, and the induced mutant fraction averaged 110 mutants per 10(5) survivors. In addition, both toxicity and mutant induction were dose-dependent. Multiplex PCR analysis of mutant DNA showed that the proportion of mutants with multilocus deletions increased with the number of particle traversals. These data provide direct evidence that a single a particle traversing a nucleus will have a high probability of resulting in a mutation and highlight the need for radiation protection at low doses.

PMID:
9108052
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC20515
Free PMC Article
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