Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 179–187 | Cite as

Investigation on the correlation between energy deposition and clustered DNA damage induced by low-energy electrons

  • Wei Liu
  • Zhenyu Tan
  • Liming Zhang
  • Christophe Champion
Original Article


This study presents the correlation between energy deposition and clustered DNA damage, based on a Monte Carlo simulation of the spectrum of direct DNA damage induced by low-energy electrons including the dissociative electron attachment. Clustered DNA damage is classified as simple and complex in terms of the combination of single-strand breaks (SSBs) or double-strand breaks (DSBs) and adjacent base damage (BD). The results show that the energy depositions associated with about 90% of total clustered DNA damage are below 150 eV. The simple clustered DNA damage, which is constituted of the combination of SSBs and adjacent BD, is dominant, accounting for 90% of all clustered DNA damage, and the spectra of the energy depositions correlating with them are similar for different primary energies. One type of simple clustered DNA damage is the combination of a SSB and 1–5 BD, which is denoted as SSB + BD. The average contribution of SSB + BD to total simple clustered DNA damage reaches up to about 84% for the considered primary energies. In all forms of SSB + BD, the SSB + BD including only one base damage is dominant (above 80%). In addition, for the considered primary energies, there is no obvious difference between the average energy depositions for a fixed complexity of SSB + BD determined by the number of base damage, but average energy depositions increase with the complexity of SSB + BD. In the complex clustered DNA damage constituted by the combination of DSBs and BD around them, a relatively simple type is a DSB combining adjacent BD, marked as DSB + BD, and it is of substantial contribution (on average up to about 82%). The spectrum of DSB + BD is given mainly by the DSB in combination with different numbers of base damage, from 1 to 5. For the considered primary energies, the DSB combined with only one base damage contributes about 83% of total DSB + BD, and the average energy deposition is about 106 eV. However, the energy deposition increases with the complexity of clustered DNA damage, and therefore, the clustered DNA damage with high complexity still needs to be considered in the study of radiation biological effects, in spite of their small contributions to all clustered DNA damage.


Clustered DNA damage Energy deposition Low-energy electron Radiation biological effect Monte Carlo simulation 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Mašín Z and Prof. Winstead C for their generous help in providing low-energy electron elastic cross sections for pyrimidine, tetrahydrofuran, and phosphoric acid. This work was supported by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China under Grant no. 20120131110012.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhenyu Tan
    • 1
  • Liming Zhang
    • 3
  • Christophe Champion
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Electrical EngineeringShandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Information Science and Electrical EngineeringShandong Jiaotong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Electric Power Research Institute of Tianjin Electric Power CorporationTianjinPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Centre d’Etudes Nucléaires de Bordeaux GradignanUniversité de Bordeaux, CNRS/IN2P3GradignanFrance

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