Radiation Dosimetry Using the Methods of Flow Cytogenetics

  • Daryll K. Green
  • Judith A. Fantes
  • George Spowart


The measurement of whole body radiation dose by manually counting the proportion of damaged chromosomes in a sample of cultured peripheral blood lymphocytes requires many hours of skilled technician time. A low dose of approximately 15 rads could only be measured with certainty after 500 metaphase cells had been scored and one technician would spread this task over a period of 2–3 days. Flow cytogenetics offers an alternative scoring technique which is potentially more than an order of magnitude faster and which does not involve technician fatigue. We have studied the effects of in vitro radiation doses ranging from 25–400 rads on human peripheral blood lymphocytes by measuring the distortion of the Hoechst 33258 fluorescence distribution of human chromosomes in flow. The level of low intensity background signals, which increases with increasing radiation dose, correlates numerically with the radiation dose administered and the amount of chromosome damage scored by manual means. A human chromosome centromeric staining technique has been investigated which could lead to a method of recognising dicentric chromosomes in flow and a further enhancement to the radiation dose sensitivity of flow cytogenetics.


Radiation Dosimetry Increase Radiation Dose Dicentric Chromosome Acentric Fragment Fluorescence Distribution 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daryll K. Green
    • 1
  • Judith A. Fantes
    • 1
  • George Spowart
    • 1
  1. 1.MRC Clinical and Population Cytogenetics UnitWestern General HospitalEdinburghScotland

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