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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2001;97(1):33-8.

Clustered DNA damages as dosemeters for ionising radiation exposure and biological responses.

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  • 1Biology Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory Upton, NY 11973-5000, USA. BMS@BNL.GOV


Clustered DNA damages--two or more lesions (oxidised bases. abasic sites, or strand breaks) within a few DNA helical turns on opposing strands--are induced in DNA in solution and in vivo in human cells by ionising radiation. They have been postulated to be difficult to repair, and thus of potentially high biological significance. Since the total of clustered damages produced by ionising radiation is at about 3 to 4 times higher levels than double-strand breaks and are apparently absent in unirradiated cells, levels of clustered damages present immediately alter radiation exposure could serve as sensitive dosemeters of radiation exposure. Since some clusters may not be repairable and may accumulate in cells, they might also be useful as integrating dosemeters of biological effects of radiation damage.

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