The induction of chromosome aberrations in human lymphocytes by alpha-radiation

Int J Radiat Biol Relat Stud Phys Chem Med. 1980 Jul;38(1):83-91. doi: 10.1080/09553008014550961.


Human blood has been irradiated with alpha-particles from an external source of curium-242. The collimated alpha-particles entered the blood with an energy of 4-9 MeV and were almost completely absorbed by the blood. After culturing for 48 hours, the dicentric yield in the lymphocytes at the first metaphase was measured as a function of dose to the blood. The yield was linear with dose up to 400 rad with a slope of 28x6 X 10(4) dicentrics/cell per rad. This is equivalent to an initial slope r.b.e. of 17x9 with respect to cobalt-60 gamma-rays. This value disagrees with the only two other published values in the literature. Reasons for this disagreement are discussed. Compared with neutron r.b.e values obtained in this laboratory the alpha-particle values we observe are surprisingly low. A model is proposed which predicts low values of r.b.e. for chromosome aberration production using radiations of high LET. The low values occur because there is a distribution of specific energy between cells which causes a selective removal of cells likely to contain higher numbers of aberrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alpha Particles
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Energy Transfer / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects*
  • Models, Biological