Petitot, F., Morlier, J. P., Debroche, M., Pineau, J. F. and Chevillard, S. A New Method Specifically Designed to Expose Cells Isolated In Vitro to Radon and its Decay Products. Radiat. Res. 157, 693–699 (2002).
A system was set up to provide direct exposure of cells cultured in vitro to radon and its decay products. Radon gas emanating from a uranium source was introduced at a measured concentration in a closed 10-m3 exposure chamber. Cells were cultured on the microporous membrane of an insert that was floating over the culture medium in a six-well cluster plate. Plates with cells were placed in an open thermoregulated bath within the chamber. Under these conditions, cells were irradiated by direct deposition of radon and radon decay products. During exposure, all parameters, including radon gas concentrations, decay product activities, and potential α-particle energy concentrations, were determined by periodic air-grab samplings inside the chamber. The energy spectrum of deposited decay products was characterized. An estimation of α-particle flux density on the area containing cells was performed using CR-39 detector films that were exposed in cell-free wells during the cell exposure. The number of α-particle traversals per cell was deduced both from the mean number of CR-39 tracks per surface unit and from measurements of entire cells or nuclear surfaces. This paper describes the design of experiment, the dosimetry of radon and radon decay product, and the procedures for aerosol measurements. Our preliminary data show the usefulness of the in vitro cell culture approach to the study of the early cellular effects of radon and its decay products.