Kühne, M., Urban, G., Frankenberg, D. and Löbrich, M. DNA Double-Strand Break Misrejoining after Exposure of Primary Human Fibroblasts to CK Characteristic X Rays, 29 kVp X Rays and 60Co γ Rays. Radiat. Res. 164, 669–676 (2005).
The efficiency of ionizing photon radiation for inducing mutations, chromosome aberrations, neoplastic cell transformation, and cell killing depends on the photon energy. We investigated the induction and rejoining of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) as possible contributors for the varying efficiencies of different photon energies. A specialized pulsed-field gel electrophoresis assay based on Southern hybridization of single Mbp genomic restriction fragments was employed to assess DSB induction and rejoining by quantifying the restriction fragment band. Unrejoined and misrejoined DSBs were determined in dose fractionation protocols using doses per fraction of 2.2 and 4.4 Gy for CK characteristic X rays, 4 and 8 Gy for 29 kVp X rays, and 5, 10 and 20 Gy for 60Co γ rays. DSB induction by CK characteristic X rays was about twofold higher than for 60Co γ rays, whereas 29 kVp X rays showed only marginally elevated levels of induced DSBs compared with 60Co γ rays (a factor of 1.15). Compared with these modest variations in DSB induction, the variations in the levels of unrejoined and misrejoined DSBs were more significant. Our results suggest that differences in the fidelity of DSB rejoining together with the different efficiencies for induction of DSBs can explain the varying biological effectiveness of different photon energies.