Tawn, E. J., Whitehouse, C. A., De Ruyck, K., Hodgson, L., Vandenbulcke, K. and Thierens, H. The Characterization and Transmissibility of Chromosome Aberrations Induced in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes by In Vitro α-Particle Radiation. Radiat. Res. 168, 666–674 (2007).
Peripheral blood lymphocytes were irradiated in vitro with 213Bi α particles at doses of 0, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 mGy. Chromosome analysis was performed on 47-h cultures using single-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to paint chromosomes 1, 3 and 5. The whole genome was analyzed for unstable aberrations to derive aberration frequencies and determine cell stability. The dose response for dicentrics was 33.60 ± 0.47 × 10−2 per Gy. A more detailed analysis revealed that the majority of aberrations scored as dicentrics were part of complex/multiple aberrations, with the proportion of cells containing complexes increasing with dose. Cells containing aberrations involving painted chromosomes (FISH aberrations) were further classified according to cell stability and complexity. The majority of cells with FISH aberrations were unstable. The proportion of aberrant FISH cells with complex/multiple aberrations ranged from 56% at 10 mGy to 89% at 500 mGy. A linear dose response for genomic frequencies of translocations in stable cells fitted the data from 0 to 200 mGy with a dose response of 7.90 ± 0.98 × 10−2 per Gy, thus indicating that they are likely to be observed in peripheral blood lymphocytes from individuals with past or chronic exposure to high-LET radiation. Comparisons with the dose response for low-LET radiation suggest an RBE of 13.6 for dicentrics in all cells and 3.2 for translocations in stable cells. Since stochastic effects of radiation are attributable to genetic changes in viable cells, translocations in stable cells may be a better measure when considering the comparative risks of different qualities of radiation.