Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) competes with thymidine (TdR) for incorporation into DNA of exponentially growing V79-171 cells. Such cells show an enhancement of the radiation response as determined by clonogenic survival and DNA damage measured by filter elution techniques after doses up to 15 Gy. The degree of radiosensitization for both survival and rates of alkaline and neutral elution are dependent on percentage BrdU substitution and independent of whether BrdU is in one strand only (monofilar) or both strands (bifilar) of the DNA duplex: e.g., for 16% BrdU substitution distributed either monofilarly or partially bifilarly, there is an enhancement factor for D0 of 1.55. At this percentage substitution, the enhancement factor for the rate of alkaline elution is 1.75 and that for the rate of neutral elution is 1.54. The greater the percentage BrdU substitution, the larger was the enhancement ratio for survival and radiation-induced strand breaks in both monofilarly and bifilarly substituted cells. The increase in cell radiosensitivity caused by BrdU substitution shows a better correlation with the increase in radiation-induced double-strand breaks than with the increase in radiation-induced single-strand breaks.

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