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The clonogenic survival of cells of the radiation-sensitive hamster cell lines irs1, irs2, irs3 and xrs5, representing different DNA repair pathways, was compared to that of their parent lines after alpha-particle irradiation. Measurements of nuclear area were made to calculate the probability of surviving a single alpha-particle traversal, the average number of lethal lesions per track and per unit dose, along with the "intrinsic radiosensitivity" of these cells, allowing for the potential of multiple lethal lesions per traversal. For all cell lines studied, alpha particles were found to be more biologically effective per unit absorbed dose than X rays at inducing cell inactivation. The repair-deficient cells showed an enhanced sensitivity to alpha particles compared to their parent line, but the degree of enhancement was less than for X rays. The reduction in additional sensitivity for alpha-particle irradiation was shown not to be due predominantly to differences in cell geometry limiting the probability of a cell nucleus being traversed. The results suggest that both the nonhomologous end-joining pathway and to a lesser extent the homologous recombination repair pathway play a role in successful repair of alpha-particle-induced damage, although a large proportion of damage is not repaired by either pathway.


Journal article


Radiat Res

Publication Date





667 - 676


Alpha Particles, Animals, CHO Cells, Cell Survival, Cricetinae, DNA Damage, DNA Repair, Linear Energy Transfer, Radiation Tolerance, Relative Biological Effectiveness, X-Rays