Estimation of the Radiation-Induced DNA Double-Strand Breaks Number by Considering Cell Cycle and Absorbed Dose Per Cell Nucleus

J Radiat Res. 2018 May 1;59(3):253-260. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrx097.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are thought to be the main cause of cell death after irradiation. In this study, we estimated the probability distribution of the number of DSBs per cell nucleus by considering the DNA amount in a cell nucleus (which depends on the cell cycle) and the statistical variation in the energy imparted to the cell nucleus by X-ray irradiation. The probability estimation of DSB induction was made following these procedures: (i) making use of the Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO)-K1 cell line as the target example, the amounts of DNA per nucleus in the logarithmic and the plateau phases of the growth curve were measured by flow cytometry with propidium iodide (PI) dyeing; (ii) the probability distribution of the DSB number per cell nucleus for each phase after irradiation with 1.0 Gy of 200 kVp X-rays was measured by means of γ-H2AX immunofluorescent staining; (iii) the distribution of the cell-specific energy deposition via secondary electrons produced by the incident X-rays was calculated by WLTrack (in-house Monte Carlo code); (iv) according to a mathematical model for estimating the DSB number per nucleus, we deduced the induction probability density of DSBs based on the measured DNA amount (depending on the cell cycle) and the calculated dose per nucleus. The model exhibited DSB induction probabilities in good agreement with the experimental results for the two phases, suggesting that the DNA amount (depending on the cell cycle) and the statistical variation in the local energy deposition are essential for estimating the DSB induction probability after X-ray exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Cycle / radiation effects*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / radiation effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / radiation effects
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded / radiation effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Probability
  • X-Rays


  • Histones
  • DNA