Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 99–104 | Cite as

The relative biological effectiveness of densely ionizing heavy-ion radiation for inducing ocular cataracts in wild type versus mice heterozygous for the ATM gene

  • Eric J. HallEmail author
  • Basil V. Worgul
  • Lubomir Smilenov
  • Carl D. Elliston
  • David J. Brenner
Original Paper


The accelerated appearance of ocular cataracts at younger ages has been recorded in both astronauts and airline pilots, and is usually attributed to high-energy heavy ions in galactic cosmic ray radiation. We have previously shown that high-LET 1-GeV/nucleon 56Fe ions are significantly more effective than X-rays in producing cataracts in mice. We have also shown that mice haploinsufficient for ATM develop cataracts earlier than wild-type animals, when exposed to either low-LET X-rays or high-LET 56Fe ions. In this paper we derive quantitative estimates for the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of high energy 56Fe ions compared with X-rays, both for wild type and for mice haploinsufficient for ATM. There is a clear trend toward higher RBE’s in haploinsufficient animals, both for low- and high-grade cataracts. Haploinsufficiency for ATM results in an enhanced sensitivity to X-rays compared with the wild type, and this enhancement appears even larger after exposure to high-LET heavy ions.


Cataract Relative Biological Effectiveness Ataxia Telangiectasia Airline Pilot High Relative Biological Effectiveness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by NASA Grant No. NAG 9-1519 and by the Office of Science (BER) US Department of Energy Grant No. DE-FG02-03ER63629.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Hall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Basil V. Worgul
    • 2
  • Lubomir Smilenov
    • 1
  • Carl D. Elliston
    • 1
  • David J. Brenner
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Radiological ResearchColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Eye Radiation and Environmental Research LaboratoryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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