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Validation of endpoints as biomarkers of low-dose radiation damage
Rossouw, Maria Susanna
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The need for radiobiological research was bom from the discovery that high doses of radiation could cause cancer and other health effects. However, recent developments in molecular biology uncovered the effects of low doses of radiation on different biological systems and as a result new techniques have been developed to measure these effects. The aim of this study was thus to validate biomarkers of initial DNA strand breaks, micronucleus formation, and the different pt ;ases of apoptosis as biological indicators of low-dose radiation damage. Furthermore, the difference in response of blood cells to different qualities and doses of radiation was investigated by irradiating cells with low- and high-LET radiation simultaneously. Blood from one donor was irradiated with doses between 0 and 4 Gy gamma- and neutron radiation. The alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay was performed on different cell preparations directly after irradiation for the detection of initial DNA strand breaks. Radiation-induced cytogenetic damage was investigated using the cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay while different features of apoptosis were investigated by measuring caspase activation, enzymatic DNA fragmentation, and cellular morphology. The comet assay was sensitive enough to detect DNA strand breaks above 0.25 Gy and showed that the Iymphocyte isolation process induced some endogenous damage in cells, detected by the formation of highly damaged cells and hedgehogs in isolated cell preparations only.
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