Chromosomal aberrations were evaluated in swine leukocytes after their in vivo or in vitro exposure to various levels of fission neutrons. The best statistical fit for the dose-response data from both exposure methods was to a linear model. Aberration indices were significantly higher (P < 0.01) following in vitro exposure of an animal's blood than in samples taken 30 min after irradiation of the animal. Dose attenuation and differences in the relative contributions of the neutron and gamma components reaching the target cells produced a difference in the biologically effective dose received by the leukocytes under the two exposure conditions. When the data were adjusted for these factors, the level of acentric fragments was comparable between exposure methods, but rings plus dicentrics were still more abundant after in vitro irradiation. Mathematical equations were constructed to predict in vivo damage from the in vitro aberration coefficient.

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