Frequencies of chromosomal aberrations induced in human blood lymphocytes by low doses of x-rays

D. C. Lloyd*, Alan Edwards, A. Léonard, Gh Deknudt, A. Natarajan, G. Obe, F. Palitti, C. Tanzarella, E. J. Tawn

*Corresponding author for this work

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59 Citations (Scopus)


The dose-response for radiation-induced chromosome aberrations in human lymphocytes is usually fitted to the quadratic model. This assumes that the slope is essentially linear at low doses. Empirical observations of linearity at < 200 mGy are, however, sparse. Some data have been published indication a non-linear (threshold) response and these are reviewed. In particular one study with X-rays showed a plateau in response up to 50 mGy and with a significant dip below the control level at 4 mGy. The mechanism proposed to explain non-linearity is that low doses stimulate the enzymic repair capability of lymphocytes. Preliminary data are presented from a large experiment by six laboratories in which the low dose-response for X-rays has been re-examined. The plateau in the dose-response relationship, if it exists, does not extend to doses above ∼ 10 mGy. No irradiated cells yielded aberration levels significantly below the control. Over the range 0-300 mGy the response can be fitted to a linear regression. There are, however, variations in sensitivity between cells from different donors. An unexpected finding was that some lymphocytes contained ≥ 1 exchange aberrations. This may indicate a small subset of cells that are especially susceptible to the induction of aberrations by low doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement This work was partially funded by contracts with the CEC Euratom Radiation Protection Programme . The contract numbers were B16-165-UK, B16-146-B, B16-166-NL, B16-152-D, B16-171-I .

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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