Effects of gamma-irradiation on chromosomes of cultured lymphocytes from rheumatoid arthritis patients and their family members

Cytobios. 1984;39(153):19-27.


Increased rates of spontaneous or induced chromosome breakage are seen in many types of diseases, including the 'collagen-type' autoimmune diseases. Using a 60Co gamma cell, we irradiated lymphocyte cultures from three related rheumatoid arthritis patients, their immediate family members, and two unrelated rheumatoid arthritis patients. Although these individuals had not shown abnormally high levels of spontaneous chromosome breakage, they did show an abnormal sensitivity to irradiation, which was manifested in several ways. Two of the probands showed induced breakage rates that were twice as high as those seen in controls. In addition, the reduction of mitotic index, due either to increased cell death or to induction of a G2 lag period, was higher in the arthritis group (including non-symptomatic family members) than in the control group. Finally, we observed a high frequency of an unusual type of cell in the arthritis group. These unusual cells resembled c-anaphases seen with extended colcemid treatment, and may indicate that the mitotic apparatus in cells from this group is particularly sensitive to ionizing radiation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Gamma Rays
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects*
  • Lymphocytes / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mitosis / radiation effects
  • Mitotic Index