Biological Effects of Neutrons

  • J. J. Broerse
Part of the Ettore Majorana International Science Series book series (EMISS, volume 2)


When a biological system is irradiated with neutrons, the energy is dissipated by fast protons, alpha-particles and heavy recoils which are produced through interactions with the tissue constituents. The secondary particles produced by the neutrons generally have a higher ionization density than electrons produced by X- or gammaradiation; consequently, neutrons can be described as high-LET radiation. Due to the complexity of the secondary particle spectra, neutrons are less suitable than are charged particles for fundamental investigations of the mechanisms by which effects of ionizing radiation on living cells are initiated. However, fast neutrons are of great interest for radiobiology, since they offer the practical possibility of exposing relatively large objects to high-LET radiation with a relatively uniform absorbed dose distribution throughout the subject. In addition, neutrons from certain sources, e.g., fission reactors, provide large fields for the irradiation of many biological objects at a time, an essential feature for the study of effects in animal populations.


Fast Neutron Neutron Beam Mouse Bone Marrow Relative Biological Effectiveness Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Broerse
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiobiological Institute TNORijswijkThe Netherlands

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