Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 381–391 | Cite as

Radiobiological influence of megavoltage electron pulses of ultra-high pulse dose rate on normal tissue cells

  • Lydia Laschinsky
  • Leonhard Karsch
  • Elisabeth Leßmann
  • Melanie Oppelt
  • Jörg Pawelke
  • Christian Richter
  • Michael Schürer
  • Elke BeyreutherEmail author
Original Article


Regarding the long-term goal to develop and establish laser-based particle accelerators for a future radiotherapeutic treatment of cancer, the radiobiological consequences of the characteristic short intense particle pulses with ultra-high peak dose rate, but low repetition rate of laser-driven beams have to be investigated. This work presents in vitro experiments performed at the radiation source ELBE (Electron Linac for beams with high Brilliance and low Emittance). This accelerator delivered 20-MeV electron pulses with ultra-high pulse dose rate of 1010 Gy/min either at the low pulse frequency analogue to previous cell experiments with laser-driven electrons or at high frequency for minimizing the prolonged dose delivery and to perform comparison irradiation with a quasi-continuous electron beam analogue to a clinically used linear accelerator. The influence of the different electron beam pulse structures on the radiobiological response of the normal tissue cell line 184A1 and two primary fibroblasts was investigated regarding clonogenic survival and the number of DNA double-strand breaks that remain 24 h after irradiation. Thereby, no considerable differences in radiation response were revealed both for biological endpoints and for all probed cell cultures. These results provide evidence that the radiobiological effectiveness of the pulsed electron beams is not affected by the ultra-high pulse dose rates alone.


Laser-driven radiotherapy Cell response to electron beams Pulsed irradiation Ultra-high pulse dose rate Normal tissue cell culture 



The authors are much obligated to the ELBE crew for their continuing interest and support of the presented study. The work was supported by the German Government, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Grant Nos. 03ZIK445 and 03Z1N511.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Human and animal right statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lydia Laschinsky
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Leonhard Karsch
    • 1
  • Elisabeth Leßmann
    • 2
  • Melanie Oppelt
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Jörg Pawelke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christian Richter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Schürer
    • 1
  • Elke Beyreuther
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.OncoRay – National Centre for Radiation Research in Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Carl Gustav CarusTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Radiation PhysicsHelmholtz-Zentrum Dresden – Rossendorf (HZDR)DresdenGermany
  3. 3.Menarini – Von Heyden GmbHDresdenGermany
  4. 4.Quintiles GmbHNeu-IsenburgGermany

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