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Stability of Radiation Induced Chromosome Damage in Human Peripheral Blood LymphocytesChromosome damage in an individual's peripheral blood lymphocytes can be an indicator of radiation exposure and this data can be used to evaluate dose after accidental or occupational exposure. Evidence suggests that the yield of chromosome damage in lymphocytes is also a relevant biomarker of cancer risk in humans that reflects individual cancer susceptibility. It follows that biomonitoring studies can be used to uncover subjects who are particularly susceptible to radiation damage and therefore at higher risk of cancer. Translocations and other stable aberrations are commonly believed to persist in peripheral blood cells for many years after exposure, and it has been suggested that translocations can be used for assessing retrospective radiation doses or chronic exposures. However, recent investigations suggest that translocations might not always persist indefinitely. We measured chromosome aberrations in the blood lymphocytes of six astronauts before their respective missions of approximately 3 to 6 months onboard the international space station, and again at various intervals up to 5 years after flight. In samples collected a few days after return to earth, the yield of chromosome translocations had significantly increased compared with preflight values, and results indicate that biodosimetry estimates lie within the range expected from physical dosimetry. However, for five of the astronauts, follow up analysis revealed a temporal decline in translocations with half-lives ranging from 10 to 58 months. The yield of exchanges remained unchanged for the sixth astronaut during an observation period of 5 months post-flight. These results may indicate complications with the use of stable aberrations for retrospective dose reconstruction and could affect cancer risk predictions that are estimated from yields of chromosome damage obtained shortly after exposure.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Cucinotta, F. A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
George, K.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Willingham, V.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2006
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
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