Schmid, E., Regulla, D., Guldbakke, S., Schlegel, D. and Bauchinger, M. The Effectiveness of Monoenergetic Neutrons at 565 keV in Producing Dicentric Chromosomes in Human Lymphocytes at Low Doses.

The induction of dicentric chromosomes in human lymphocytes from one individual irradiated in vitro with monoenergetic neutrons at 565 keV was examined to provide additional data for an improved evaluation of neutrons with respect to radiation risk in radioprotection. The resulting linear dose–response relationship obtained (0.813 ± 0.052 dicentrics per cell per gray) over the dose range of 0.0213–0.167 Gy is consistent with published results obtained for irradiation with neutrons from different sources and with different spectra at energies lower than 1000 keV. Comparing this value to previously published “average” dose–response curves obtained by different laboratories for 60Co γ rays and orthovoltage X rays resulted in maximum RBEs (RBEm) of about 37 ± 8 and 16 ± 4, respectively. However, when our neutron data were matched to low-LET dose responses that were constructed several years earlier for lymphocytes from the same individual, higher values of RBEm resulted: 76.0 ± 29.5 for 60Co γ rays and 54.2 ± 18.4 for 137Cs γ rays; differentially filtered 220 kV X rays produced values of RBEm between 20.3 ± 2.0 or 37.0 ± 7.1. The results highlight the dependence of RBEm on the choice of low-LET reference radiation and raise the possibility that differential individual response to low-LET radiations may need to be examined more fully in this context.

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