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The Cellular Lethality of Radiation-Induced Chromosome Translocations in Human Lymphocytes

Shea N. Gardner and James D. Tucker
Radiation Research
Vol. 157, No. 5 (May, 2002), pp. 539-552
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3580679
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Cellular Lethality of Radiation-Induced Chromosome Translocations in Human Lymphocytes
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Abstract

Recent evidence has shown that translocation frequencies decline over time. This phenomenon might be explained by the co-occurrence of translocations in cells that also contain dicentrics, in which case translocations would be eliminated as a by-product of selection against dicentrics. Alternatively, a fraction of translocations may themselves be lethal. Here we describe our initial approaches to develop mathematical models to test whether the decline in translocation frequencies results from the first, the second, or a combination of these two possibilities. The models assumed that all chromosome exchanges were simple, i.e., were comprised of dicentrics as well as one-way and two-way translocations. Complex aberrations (three or more breaks in two or more chromosomes) were not modeled, nor were fragments or intrachromosomal exchanges (rings, inversions). We tested the models using Monte Carlo simulations, and then we fitted the models to data describing chromosome aberration frequencies induced by a single acute in vitro exposure to 137 Cs γ rays in human peripheral blood lymphocytes from two donors. Chromosome painting was used to enumerate translocations and dicentrics from 2 to 7 days after exposure. Our results indicate that in donor no. 2, the decline in translocation frequencies occurs as a by-product of selection against dicentrics. However, in donor no. 1, whose cells appeared more radiosensitive than cells from donor no. 2, up to 40% of the one-way translocations may themselves be lethal at high doses, although calculations indicate that two-way translocations do not cause lymphocyte mortality. Individual variation in the probability that translocations are lethal to cells appears to be important, and one-way translocations appear to be lethal more often than two-way translocations. Within the limits of these models, these findings indicate that both postulated mechanisms, i.e. inherent lethality and selection against dicentrics in the same cells, contribute to the loss of both one-way and two-way translocations.

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