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Radiat Res. 1998 Apr;149(4):396-400.

Detection of DNA damage by the alkaline comet assay after exposure to low-dose gamma radiation.

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Section of Cancer Biology, Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.

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  • Radiat Res 1998 May;149(5):531.


The alkaline comet assay as described by Olive et al. (Exp. Cell Res. 198, 259-267, 1992) was used to detect DNA damage in cells exposed to low doses (0-5 cGy) of gamma radiation. Experiments were performed using lymphocytes isolated from whole blood of rats. The comet parameters, normalized comet moment and comet length, described by Kent et al. (Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 67, 655-660, 1995), were used as measurements of DNA damage. It was observed that the alkaline comet assay can detect DNA damage at doses as low as 0.6 cGy. The results of the experiments using low-dose gamma radiation are comparable with published results obtained using the alkaline comet assay according to the method of Singh et al. (Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 66, 23-28, 1994). Based on this observation and analysis of results published previously, we conclude that the version of the alkaline comet assay described by Olive et al. is as sensitive as other modifications of the comet assay reported in literature for the detection of DNA damage in cells exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation.

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