The potential of vitamin C, an antioxidant, to protect the radiosensitive spermatogonial cells in mouse testes against the effects of chronic irradiation by radionuclides incorporated into tissue was investigated. Interestingly, when injected intratesticularly, a small and nontoxic amount of vitamin C (1.5 μg in 3 μl saline) protected the spermatogonia against the damage associated with high-LET radiation caused by Auger electrons from similarly administered$5\text{-}({}^{125}{\rm I})\text{-iodo-}2^{\prime}\text{-deoxyuridine}$ (${}^{125}{\rm IdU}$). A dose modification factor (DMF) of 2.3 was obtained. In contrast, no protection was observed when210 Po, an α-particle emitter, was administered similarly. These findings suggest that the mechanism of action of the Auger effect is of an indirect nature, which is in contrast to the direct action generally believed to be responsible for biological damage caused by high-LET radiations.

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