Detection and automated scoring of dicentric chromosomes in nonstimulated lymphocyte prematurely condensed chromosomes after telomere and centromere staining

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Mar 1;91(3):640-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2014.10.048. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


Purpose: To combine telomere and centromere (TC) staining of premature chromosome condensation (PCC) fusions to identify dicentrics, centric rings, and acentric chromosomes, making possible the realization of a dose-response curve and automation of the process.

Methods and materials: Blood samples from healthy donors were exposed to (60)Co irradiation at varying doses up to 8 Gy, followed by a repair period of 8 hours. Premature chromosome condensation fusions were carried out, and TC staining using peptide nucleic acid probes was performed. Chromosomal aberration (CA) scoring was carried out manually and automatically using PCC-TCScore software, developed in our laboratory.

Results: We successfully optimized the hybridization conditions and image capture parameters, to increase the sensitivity and effectiveness of CA scoring. Dicentrics, centric rings, and acentric chromosomes were rapidly and accurately detected, leading to a linear-quadratic dose-response curve by manual scoring at up to 8 Gy. Using PCC-TCScore software for automatic scoring, we were able to detect 95% of dicentrics and centric rings.

Conclusion: The introduction of TC staining to the PCC fusion technique has made possible the rapid scoring of unstable CAs, including dicentrics, with a level of accuracy and ease not previously possible. This new approach can be used for biological dosimetry in radiation emergency medicine, where the rapid and accurate detection of dicentrics is a high priority using automated scoring. Because there is no culture time, this new approach can also be used for the follow-up of patients treated by genotoxic therapy, creating the possibility to perform the estimation of induced chromosomal aberrations immediately after the blood draw.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Centromere / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes
  • DNA Repair
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects*
  • Metaphase
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Staining and Labeling*
  • Telomere*
  • Time Factors


  • Cobalt Radioisotopes