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Radiat Environ Biophys. 2004 Jul;43(2):91-9. Epub 2004 May 11.

Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of 60Co gamma-rays and 90Sr/90Y beta-rays on Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1).

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Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (IPEN), Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear (CNEN/SP) Centro de Biologia Molecular (CBM) Cidade Universitária São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes 2242, Caixa Postal 11049, SP 05508-900, Brazil.


Among various types of ionizing radiation, the beta emitter radionuclides are involved in many sectors of human activity, such as nuclear medicine, nuclear industries and biomedicine, with a consequently increased risk of accidental, occupational or therapeutic exposure. Despite their recognized importance, there is little information about the effect of beta particles at the cellular level when compared to other types of ionizing radiation. Thus, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of (90)Sr/(90)Y-a pure, highly energetic beta source-on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and to compare them with data obtained with (60)Co. CHO cells irradiated with different doses of (60)Co (0.34 Gy min(-1)) and (90)Sr/(90)Y (0.23 Gy min(-1)) were processed for analysis of clonogenic death, induction of micronuclei (MN) and interphase death. The survival curves obtained for both types of radiation were fitted by the exponential quadratic model and were found to be similar. Also, the cytogenetic results showed similar frequencies of radio-induced MN between gamma and beta radiations and the MN distribution pattern among cells did not follow the expected Poisson probability pattern. The relative variance values were significantly higher in cells irradiated with (90)Sr/(90)Y than with (60)Co in all exposure doses. The irradiated cells showed more necrotic cells 72 h and 96 h after exposure to beta than to gamma radiation. In general, the (90)Sr/(90)Y beta-radiation was more damaging than (60)Co gamma-rays. The data obtained also demonstrated the need to use several parameters for a better estimate of cellular sensitivity to the action of genotoxic agents, which would be important in terms of radiobiology, oncology and therapeutics.

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