To use the micronucleus (MN) assay as a biological dosimeter, it is essential that the dose response to different radiation qualities is known. In this paper we present dose-response curves for MN induction by X rays (14, 50 and 350 kVp) and60 Co γ rays. The dose responses for 14 kVp compared to 50 kVp and for 350 kVp compared to60 Co were found to differ significantly, whereas no significant difference could be demonstrated between 50 kVp and 350 kVp. Calculated RBE values with respect to60 Co γ rays increase strongly with decreasing dose. The high RBE value (2.7) obtained for 14 kVp X rays in the low-dose region is of importance for radiological protection in clinical practice. A good linear correlation was found between the biological damage expressed by the RBE values for MN induction and the calculated physical parameter$\overline{{\rm LET}}_{100,{\rm T}}$ expressing the energy deposition pattern in the medium. This correlation points to the fact that secondary phenomena involved in MN formation (repair, coagulation) do not differ greatly for the X-ray qualities used in this work. It can be concluded that MN induction in human lymphocytes can be used as a sensitive biological dosimeter for radiation damage by X rays and γ rays.

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