A comparison of different cytological stains for biological dosimetry

Thiago Salazar Fernandes, David Lloyd, Ademir Amaral

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This paper examines the relative accuracy of analysis of unstable chromosomal aberrations (dicentrics, rings and fragments) in lymphocyte metaphases using four microscope slide staining options, widely used to assess radiation overdose or to survey occupationally exposed subjects. Materials and methods: Peripheral blood lymphocytes from a healthy donor were irradiated with 1.5 and 3.0 Gy of X-rays at a dose rate of 0.715 Gy/min. Dicentrics were scored by different cytological stains in order to compare block staining: Giemsa and 4′, 6-Diamidine-2′-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI); with techniques that highlight centromeres: C-banding and Centromere Multiplex Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (CM-FISH). Results: At each of the two doses, the values for dicentrics per cell observed with each staining method were compared. In terms of dose estimation, no statistical difference was observed between the evaluated methods (χ2 p: 0.27 and 0.64, respectively; analysis of variance - ANOVA, p > 0.99). Therefore, the evidence of centromeres by C-banding and CM-FISH did not promote an increased discovery of dicentrics. On the other hand, when confirmation of unequivocal identification of dicentrics is needed, C-banding and CM-FISH can be a suitable method to confirm its presence. Economical and social factors must be taken into account in the decision of method as well. Conclusion: For routine use where several hundreds of cells need to be reliably processed and analyzed daily, processing slides by block staining with Giemsa and DAPI is preferable. However, to assist in resolving the minority of images that are ambiguous, C-banding and CM-FISH provide a better identification of suspected dicentrics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)703-711
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The authors would like to thank the Health Protection Agency (HPA), UK, especially Alan Edwards, Jayne Moquet, Pat Hone and Liz Ainsbury, for the contribution in this research; and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecno-lógico (CNPq–Brazil) and Coordenac¸ão de Aperfeic¸oamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES-Brazil) for supporting this work.


    • Biological dosimetry
    • C-banding
    • Cytological stains
    • DAPI
    • FISH
    • Giemsa


    Dive into the research topics of 'A comparison of different cytological stains for biological dosimetry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this