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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2009 Feb;134(1):55-61. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncp061. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

Dicentric chromosomes and gamma-H2AX foci formation in lymphocytes of human blood samples exposed to a CT scanner: a direct comparison of dose response relationships.

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Bayer Schering Pharma AG, 13342 Berlin, Germany.


Experiments using the induction of dicentric chromosomes (dicentrics) as well as the gamma-H2AX foci formation in lymphocytes of blood samples from a healthy donor were performed to directly evaluate the radiation sensitivity of both biological endpoints. For computed tomography scans at dose levels from 0.025 to 1 Gy, a linear-quadratic dose-response relationship for dicentrics and a linear dose-response relationship for gamma-H2AX foci were obtained. The coefficients of the dose-response relationship for dicentrics are alpha = (3.76 +/- 0.29) x 10(-2) Gy(-1) and beta = (5.54 +/- 0.45) x 10(-2) Gy(-2), the linear coefficient for gamma-H2AX foci is (7.38 +/- 0.11) Gy(-1). The findings indicate that scoring of dicentrics as well as microscopic analysis of gamma-H2AX foci are sensitive methods to quantify a radiation-induced biological damage at low doses. However, since gamma-H2AX foci can be partially repaired within a few hours, biological damages present for days or even months, which constitute the clinically relevant endpoints, can only be quantified reliably by scoring of chromosome aberrations. Thus currently the quantification of dicentrics or reciprocal translocations remains the recommended method for estimating the effect of exposures to low dose levels of radiation ('biological dosimetry'). However, owing to the high radiation sensitivity of the gamma-H2AX foci assay observed in the present study, further investigations on the effectiveness of low-linear energy transfer radiation qualities in producing gamma-H2AX foci in lymphocytes from healthy donors should be performed.

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