Detection of DNA damage by the alkaline comet assay after exposure to low-dose gamma radiation

Radiat Res. 1998 Apr;149(4):396-400.


The alkaline comet assay as described by Olive et al. (Exp. Cell Res. 198, 259-267, 1992) was used to detect DNA damage in cells exposed to low doses (0-5 cGy) of gamma radiation. Experiments were performed using lymphocytes isolated from whole blood of rats. The comet parameters, normalized comet moment and comet length, described by Kent et al. (Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 67, 655-660, 1995), were used as measurements of DNA damage. It was observed that the alkaline comet assay can detect DNA damage at doses as low as 0.6 cGy. The results of the experiments using low-dose gamma radiation are comparable with published results obtained using the alkaline comet assay according to the method of Singh et al. (Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 66, 23-28, 1994). Based on this observation and analysis of results published previously, we conclude that the version of the alkaline comet assay described by Olive et al. is as sensitive as other modifications of the comet assay reported in literature for the detection of DNA damage in cells exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel / methods*
  • Gamma Rays
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Temperature