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Radiat Res. 1998 Jun;149(6):602-13.

Persistence of radiation-induced translocations in human peripheral blood determined by chromosome painting.

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Biology and Biotechnology Research Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94551, USA.


We have investigated the persistence of translocations and other types of chromosome damage with time using human peripheral blood acutely exposed in vitro to 137Cs gamma rays at doses ranging from 0.5 to 4 Gy. Freshly drawn blood from one donor was irradiated and metaphase chromosomes were prepared 2 to 7 days after exposure. Chromosomes 1, 2 and 4 were painted red-orange and chromosomes 3, 5 and 6 were painted green by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using "semi-directly" labeled whole-chromosome painting probes. This type of labeling combines direct and indirect labeling and showed significant advantages over both these other methods. All types of structural chromosome aberrations were classified by the Protocol for Aberration Identification and Nomenclature Terminology (PAINT) system. The yields of dicentric chromosomes, acentric fragments and ring chromosomes diminished with time as expected. Translocations exhibited greater persistence but showed a clear and statistically significant reduction in frequency at all doses. The mathematical model suggested that the translocation frequencies would reach a plateau of approximately 4, 15, 51, 106 and 179 translocations per 100 cell equivalents after irradiation with 0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 4 Gy, respectively. When translocations were classified by the conventional system, an analysis of the distribution of translocations and dicentrics per cell indicated that both types of exchanges were Poisson-distributed 48 h postirradiation. However, cells bearing translocations have a higher possibility of having dicentrics than cells without translocations. These findings suggest that dicentrics may contribute to a decline of translocation frequencies with time, and that some translocations are not completely persistent. The results obtained here using human blood exposed in vitro may influence the use of translocations as a retrospective biodosimeter of exposure to ionizing radiation in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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