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A mouse model of cytogenetic analysis to evaluate caesium137 radiation dose exposure and contamination level in lymphocytes


In case of external overexposure to ionizing radiation, an estimation of its genotoxic effects on exposed individuals can be made retrospectively by the measurement of radiation-induced chromosome aberrations on circulating lymphocytes. Compared with external irradiation, intakes of radionuclides may, however, lead to specific features influencing dose distribution at the scale of body, of tissue or even of cell. Therefore, in case of internal contamination by radionuclides, experimental studies, particularly using animal models, are required to better understand mechanisms of their genotoxic effects and to better estimate the absorbed dose. The present study was designed to evaluate a cytogenetic method in mouse peripheral blood lymphocytes that would allow determination of yields and complexities of chromosome aberrations after low-dose rate exposure to 137Cs delivered in vitro either by irradiation or by contamination. By using M-FISH analysis, we compared the low-dose rate responses observed in mouse to the high-dose rate responses observed both in mouse and in human. Promising similarities between the two species in the relative biological effect evaluation show that our cytogenetic model established in mouse might be useful to evaluate various radiation exposures, particularly relevant in case of intakes of radionuclides.

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The authors would like to thank Gaëtan GRUEL for his help with the “R” software and for the modifications done on the “R” routine used here.

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Correspondence to Sandrine Roch-Lefèvre.

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Roch-Lefèvre, S., Martin-Bodiot, C., Grégoire, E. et al. A mouse model of cytogenetic analysis to evaluate caesium137 radiation dose exposure and contamination level in lymphocytes. Radiat Environ Biophys 55, 61–70 (2016).

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  • Mouse
  • Chromosome aberrations
  • Low-dose rate exposure
  • Cs137 contamination