Kadhim, M. A., Marsden, S. J., Malcolmson, A. M., Folkard, M., Goodhead, D. T., Prise, K. M. and Michael, B. D. Long-Term Genomic Instability in Human Lymphocytes Induced by Single-Particle Irradiation.
Recent evidence suggests that genomic instability, which is an important step in carcinogenesis, may be important in the effectiveness of radiation as a carcinogen, particularly for high-LET radiations. Understanding the biological effects underpinning the risks associated with low doses of densely ionizing radiations is complicated in experimental systems by the Poisson distribution of particles that can be delivered. In this study, we report an approach to determine the effect of the lowest possible cellular radiation dose of densely ionizing α particles, that of a single particle traversal. Using microbeam technology and an approach for immobilizing human T-lymphocytes, we have measured the effects of single α-particle traversals on the surviving progeny of cells. A significant increase in the proportion of aberrant cells is observed 12–13 population doublings after exposure, with a high level of chromatid-type aberrations, indicative of an instability phenotype. These data suggest that instability may be important in situations where even a single particle traverses human cells.