Giver, C. R., Moore, D. H. II and Pallavicini, M. G. Radiation-Induced Translocations in Mice: Persistence, Chromosome Specificity, and Influence of Genetic Background.
The translocation frequency response in the chromosomes of peripheral blood lymphocytes is widely used for radiation biomonitoring and dose estimation. However, this assay is based upon several assumptions that have not been rigorously tested. It is typically assumed that the translocation frequency in blood lymphocytes reflects the level of genomic damage in other hemopoietic tissues and is independent of the chromosome probe and genetic background. We conducted studies to evaluate these assumptions using mice with different genetic backgrounds. Six different whole-chromosome fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probes were used to detect translocations in peripheral blood lymphocytes at multiple times after whole-body irradiation. Translocation frequencies were chromosome-independent at 6 and 16 weeks after exposure but were chromosome-dependent at 1.5 years after exposure. Similar translocation frequencies were observed in blood, bone marrow and spleen at 1.5 years, supporting previous suggestions that genetically aberrant peripheral blood lymphocytes may derive from precursor populations in hemopoietic tissues. Translocations measured 66 h after irradiation differed among some strains. We conclude that the translocation frequency response is a complex phenotype that is influenced not only by exposure dose but also by genetic background, the choice of chromosome analyzed, and time after exposure. These results raise important considerations for the use of the FISH-based translocation frequency response for radiation dosimetry and biomonitoring.