Micronuclei in human peripheral blood lymphocytes exposed to mixed beams of X-rays and alpha particles
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The purpose of this study was to analyse the cytogenetic effect of exposing human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) to a mixed beam of alpha particles and X-rays. Whole blood collected from one donor was exposed to different doses of alpha particles (241Am), X-rays and a combination of both. All exposures were carried out at 37 °C. Three independent experiments were performed. Micronuclei (MN) in binucleated PBL were scored as the endpoint. Moreover, the size of MN was measured. The results show that exposure of PBL to a mixed beam of high and low linear energy transfer radiation led to significantly higher than expected frequencies of MN. The measurement of MN size did not reveal any differences between the effect of alpha particles and mixed beam. In conclusion, a combined exposure of PBL to alpha particles and X-rays leads to a synergistic effect as measured by the frequency of MN. From the analysis of MN distributions, we conclude that the increase was due to an impaired repair of X-ray-induced DNA damage.
KeywordsMicronuclei Combined exposure LET Mixed beams Alpha particles X-rays
The study was supported by an exploratory research project from the Joint Research Centre, Institute of Energy, and by a grant from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM).
The work was approved by the local ethical committee at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden (diarium number 2010/27-31/1).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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