Schmid, E., Krumrey, M., Ulm, G., Roos, H. and Regulla, D. The Maximum Low-Dose RBE of 17.4 and 40 keV Monochromatic X Rays for the Induction of Dicentric Chromosomes in Human Peripheral Lymphocytes. Radiat. Res. 160, 499–504 (2003).
Schmid et al. (Radiat. Res. 158, 771–777, 2002) recently reported on the maximum low-dose RBE for mammography X rays (29 kV) for the induction of dicentrics in human lymphocytes. To obtain additional information on the RBE for this radiation quality, experiments with monochromatized synchrotron radiation were performed. Monochromatic 17.4 keV X rays were chosen for comparison with the diagnostic mammography X-ray spectrum to evaluate the spectral influence, while monochromatic 40 keV X rays represent a higher-energy reference radiation, within the experiment. The induction of dicentric chromosomes in human lymphocytes from one blood donor irradiated in vitro with 17.4 keV and 40 keV monochromatic X rays resulted in α coefficients of (3.44 ± 0.87) × 10–2 Gy–1 and (2.37 ± 0.93) × 10–2 Gy–1, respectively. These biological effects are only about half of the α coefficients reported earlier for exposure of blood from the same donor with the broad energy spectra of 29 kV X rays (mean energy of 17.4 keV) and 60 kV X rays (mean energy of 48 keV). A similar behavior is evident in terms of RBEM. Relative to weakly filtered 220 kV X rays, the RBEM for 17.4 and 40 keV monochromatic X rays is 0.86 ± 0.23 and 0.59 ± 0.24, respectively, which is in contrast to the RBEM of 1.64 ± 0.27 for 29 kV X rays and 1.10 ± 0.19 for 60 kV X rays. It is evident that the monochromatic radiations are less effective in inducing dicentric chromosomes than broad-spectrum X rays with the corresponding mean energy value. Therefore, it can be assumed that, for these X-ray qualities with broad energy spectra, a large fraction of the effects should be attributed predominantly to photons with energies well below the mean energy.