Evaluation of the genotoxic effects of chronic low-dose ionizing radiation exposure on nuclear medicine workers

Nucl Med Biol. 2009 Jul;36(5):575-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2009.02.003. Epub 2009 May 7.

Abstract

Introduction: Nuclear medicine workers are occupationally exposed to chronic ionizing radiation. It is known that ionizing radiation may have damaging effects on chromosomes. In the present study, we investigated the genotoxic effects of ionizing radiation on nuclear medicine workers. We used two different indicators of genotoxicity methods: sister chromatid exchange (SCE) and micronucleus (MN).

Methods: The present research was carried out using 21 nuclear medicine workers (11 females and 10 males) during two periods: during normal working conditions and after a 1-month vacation. The radiation dose varied from 1.20 to 48.56 mSv, which accumulated during the occupational exposure time between two vacations. Peripheral blood samples were taken from each subject for two distinct lymphocyte cultures (SCE and MN) in each period.

Results: In nearly all subjects, SCE values increased significantly during radiation exposure compared to the postvacation period (P<.05). Similarly, MN frequencies in most of the subjects increased significantly during radiation exposure compared to the postvacation period (P<.05).

Conclusions: This study revealed that both SCE and MN frequencies in most of the subjects were significantly higher during exposure to ionizing radiation than after a 1-month vacation period. However, this genotoxic effect was reversible in most of the subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Holidays
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Male
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Nuclear Medicine*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange / radiation effects
  • Time Factors
  • Workforce