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Acta Oncol. 1996;35(7):917-23.

The biological effects of Auger electrons compared to alpha-particles and Li ions.

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  • 1Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973-5000, USA.


The present study reports the results of V-79 Chinese hamster cell survival studies in which Auger electron emission was stimulated in gadolinium (Gd) after thermal neutron capture. When a porphyrin that had previously been labeled with boron (10BOPP) was also labeled with Gd (Gd-10BOPP), the cells were incubated with Gd-10BOPP to assess the compound's ability to physiologically transport the Gd into the cell, and localize the Gd atoms in or near the cell's critical target, presumably the DNA. It was anticipated that Auger electron emission, stimulated during the 157Gd (n, gamma)158Gd interaction, would impart additional high LET damage to that observed from the alpha-particle and Li ion during the 10B(n, alpha) 7Li reaction. Following irradiation with thermal neutrons from the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, the effectiveness of the Auger electrons was determined by comparing the response of cells incubated with 10BOPP, where damage was imparted by the boron neutron capture (BNC) products, to that from Gd-10BOPP, with equal concentration of 10B in both solutions. An Auger effectiveness factor of approximately 2 was found for the Gd-10BOPP cells. The Auger effectiveness observed with Gd strongly suggested that the 10BOPP molecule physiologically transported the Gd3+ ion intracellularly where it probably bound to DNA. Others have reported that Gd3+ does, in fact, complex with DNA. While depositing less energy per interaction than the high LET BNC reaction by-products, Auger electron ionization was more effective.

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