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Micronucleus formation in lymphocytes of children from the vicinity of Chernobyl after 131I therapy

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After the Chernobyl accident a statistically significant increase in the number of children with thyroid tumours was observed. In this study 166 children with and 75 without thyroid tumours were analysed for micronucleus formation in peripheral blood lymphocytes using the cytochalasin B approach. The following factors did not significantly affect micronucleus formation: gender, age at the time of the first 131I treatment, tumour stage, tumour type, or metastases; a statistically significant increase in the number of micronuclei, however, was observed for the residents of Gomel compared to other locations, such as Brest, Grodno, and Minsk. The children with tumours received 131I treatment after surgical resection of the tumours. This gave us the opportunity to systematically follow the effect of 131I on micronucleus formation. A marked increase was observed 5 days after the 131I treatment followed by a decrease within a 4–7 months interval up to the next application, but the pre-treatment levels were not achieved. Up to 10 therapy cycles were followed each including an analysis of micronucleus formation before and 5 days after 131I application. The response of the children was characterised by clear individual differences and the increase/decrease pattern of micronucleus frequencies induced by iodine-131 was correlated with a decrease/increase pattern in the number of lymphocytes.

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This work was supported by a grant from the “Vereinigung Deutscher Elektrizitätswerke (VDEW) e.V.”.

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Correspondence to W.-U. Müller.

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Müller, W., Dietl, S., Wuttke, K. et al. Micronucleus formation in lymphocytes of children from the vicinity of Chernobyl after 131I therapy. Radiat Environ Biophys 43, 7–13 (2004).

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  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Chernobyl Accident
  • Binucleated Cell
  • 131I Therapy
  • Radioiodine Treatment