The incidence of chromosomal abnormalities and cancer risk correlates well with the radiation dose after exposure to moderate- to high-dose ionizing radiation. However, the biological effects and health risks at less than 100 mGy, e.g., from computed tomography (CT) have not been ascertained. To investigate the biological effects of low-dose exposure from a CT procedure, we examined chromosomal aberrations, dicentric and ring chromosomes (dic+ring), in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs), using FISH assays with telomere and centromere PNA probes. In 60 non-cancer patients exposed to CT scans, the numbers of dicentric and ring chromosomes were significantly increased with individual variation. The individual variations in the increment of dicentric and ring chromosomes after CT procedures were confirmed using PNA-FISH analysis of PBLs from 15 healthy volunteers after in vitro low-dose exposure using a 137Cs radiation device. These findings strongly suggest that appropriate medical use of low-dose radiation should consider individual differences in radiation sensitivity.
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Vol. 190 • No. 4