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The importance of the spatial distribution of energy deposition through the nucleus in determining the resultant chromosome rearrangements was investigated using fluorescent in situ hybridisation technique following either uniform or partial irradiation of HF19 human fibroblast cells with low-LET 1.5 keV ultrasoft X-rays. Irradiations were performed with and without a copper irradiation mask with a Poisson distribution of micron-sized holes immediately below the irradiation dish and the results are compared with previous results obtained following exposure to a Poisson distribution of alpha particles. For the same radiation quality, the spatial distribution of energy deposition within the nucleus was found to be important in determining the ultimate biological response, with an increased ratio of complex-to-simple aberrations observed for partial compared to uniform irradiation. Comparisons between low-LET ultrasoft X-rays and high-LET alpha particles indicate that the sub-micron clustering of damage along the alpha particle track is more important than just the total number of double-strand breaks produced.

Original publication




Journal article


Radiat Prot Dosimetry

Publication Date





172 - 176


Cell Line, Cell Nucleus, Chromosome Aberrations, Chromosomes, Human, Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation, Fibroblasts, Humans, Linear Energy Transfer, Radiation Dosage