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issn:0301-634
1.  A Review of Non-Cancer Effects, Especially Circulatory and Ocular Diseases1 
There is a well-established association between high doses (> 5 Gy) of ionizing radiation exposure and damage to the heart and coronary arteries, although only recently have studies with high quality individual dosimetry been conducted that would enable quantification of this risk adjusting for concomitant chemotherapy. The association between lower dose exposures and late occurring circulatory disease has only recently begun to emerge in the Japanese atomic bomb survivors and in various occupationally-exposed cohorts, and is still controversial. Excess relative risks per unit dose in moderate and low dose epidemiological studies are somewhat variable, possibly a result of confounding and effect modification by well known (but unobserved) risk factors.
Radiation doses of 1 Gy or more are associated with increased risk of posterior subcapsular cataract. Accumulating evidence from the Japanese atomic bomb survivors, Chernobyl liquidators, US astronauts and various other exposed groups suggest that cortical cataracts may also be associated with ionizing radiation, although there is little evidence that nuclear cataracts are radiogenic. The dose response appears to be linear, although modest thresholds (of no more than about 0.6 Gy) cannot be ruled out.
A variety of other non-malignant effects have been observed after moderate/low dose exposure in various groups, in particular respiratory and digestive disease and central nervous system (and in particular neuro-cognitive) damage. However, because these are generally only observed in isolated groups, or because the evidence is excessively heterogeneous, these associations must be treated with caution.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0484-7
PMCID: PMC4074546  PMID: 23903347
circulatory disease; radiation; heart disease; stroke; cataract; central nervous system; review
2.  Electron paramagnetic resonance measurements of absorbed dose in teeth from citizens of Ozyorsk 
In 1945, within the frame of the Uranium Project for the production of nuclear weapons, the Mayak nuclear facilities were constructed at the Lake Irtyash in the Southern Urals, Russia. The nuclear workers of the Mayak Production Association (MPA), who lived in the city of Ozyorsk, are the focus of epidemiological studies for the assessment of health risks due to protracted exposure to ionising radiation. Electron paramagnetic resonance measurements of absorbed dose in tooth enamel have already been used in the past, in an effort to validate occupational external doses that were evaluated in the Mayak Worker Dosimetry System. In the present study, 229 teeth of Ozyorsk citizens not employed at MPA were investigated for the assessment of external background exposure in Ozyorsk. The annually absorbed dose in tooth enamel from natural background radiation was estimated to be (0.7 ± 0.3) mGy. For citizens living in Ozyorsk during the time of routine noble gas releases of the MPA, which peaked in 1953, the average excess absorbed dose in enamel above natural background was (36 ± 29) mGy, which is consistent with the gamma dose obtained by model calculations. In addition, there were indications of possible accidental gaseous MPA releases that affected the population of Ozyorsk, during the early and late MPA operation periods, before 1951 and after 1960.
doi:10.1007/s00411-014-0527-8
PMCID: PMC3996272  PMID: 24604722
Dose reconstruction; Mayak Production Association; Background radiation; Radioactive noble gas isotopes; EPR; Tooth enamel
3.  State of the art in nail dosimetry: free radicals identification and reaction mechanisms 
Until very recently, analysis of bone biopsies by means of the method of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) collected after surgery or amputation has been considered as the sole reliable method for radiation dose assessment in hands and feet. EPR measurements in finger- and toenail have been considered for accident dosimetry for a long time. Human nails are very attractive biophysical materials because they are easy to collect and pertinent to whole body irradiation. Information on the existence of a radiation-induced signal in human nails has been reported almost 25 years ago. However, no practical application of EPR dosimetry on nails is known to date because, from an EPR perspective, nails represent a very complex material. In addition to the radiation-induced signal (RIS), parasitic and intense signals are induced by the mechanical stress caused when collecting nail samples (mechanically induced signals—MIS). Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the RIS stability is strongly influenced not only by temperature but also by humidity. Most studies of human nails were carried out using conventional X-band microwave band (9 GHz). Higher frequency Q-band (37 GHz) provides higher spectral resolution which allows obtaining more detailed information on the nature of different radicals in human nails. Here, we present for the first time a complete description of the different EPR signals identified in nails including parasitic, intrinsic and RIS. EPR in both X- and Q-bands was used. Four different MIS signals and five different signals specific to irradiation with ionizing radiation have been identified. The most important outcome of this work is the identification of a stable RIS component. In contrast with other identified (unstable) RIS components, this component is thermally and time stable and not affected by the physical contact of fingernails with water. A detailed description of this signal is provided here. The discovery of stable radiation-induced radical(s) associated with the RIS component mentioned opens a way for broad application of EPR dosimetry in human nails. Consequently, several recent dosimetry assessments of real accident cases have been performed based on the described measurements and analyses of this component.
doi:10.1007/s00411-014-0512-2
PMCID: PMC3996284  PMID: 24469226
EPR spectroscopy; Dosimetry; Human nails; Radiological accident; Q- and X-bands
4.  Risk of second bone sarcoma following childhood cancer: role of radiation therapy treatment 
Bone sarcoma as a second malignancy is rare but highly fatal. The present knowledge about radiation-absorbed organ dose–response is insufficient to predict the risks induced by radiation therapy techniques. The objective of the present study was to assess the treatment-induced risk for bone sarcoma following a childhood cancer and particularly the related risk of radiotherapy. Therefore, a retrospective cohort of 4,171 survivors of a solid childhood cancer treated between 1942 and 1986 in France and Britain has been followed prospectively. We collected detailed information on treatments received during childhood cancer. Additionally, an innovative methodology has been developed to evaluate the dose–response relationship between bone sarcoma and radiation dose throughout this cohort. The median follow-up was 26 years, and 39 patients had developed bone sarcoma. It was found that the overall incidence was 45-fold higher [standardized incidence ratio 44.8, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 31.0–59.8] than expected from the general population, and the absolute excess risk was 35.1 per 100,000 person-years (95 % CI 24.0–47.1). The risk of bone sarcoma increased slowly up to a cumulative radiation organ absorbed dose of 15 Gy [hazard ratio (HR) = 8.2, 95 % CI 1.6–42.9] and then strongly increased for higher radiation doses (HR for 30 Gy or more 117.9, 95 % CI 36.5–380.6), compared with patients not treated with radiotherapy. A linear model with an excess relative risk per Gy of 1.77 (95 % CI 0.6213–5.935) provided a close fit to the data. These findings have important therapeutic implications: Lowering the radiation dose to the bones should reduce the incidence of secondary bone sarcomas. Other therapeutic solutions should be preferred to radiotherapy in bone sarcoma-sensitive areas.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0510-9
PMCID: PMC3996275  PMID: 24419490
Bone sarcoma; Childhood cancer; Iatrogenous effects; Radiation therapy; Secondary tumor
5.  Ultrasonography survey and thyroid cancer in the Fukushima Prefecture 
Thyroid cancer is one of the major health concerns after the accident in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station (NPS). Currently, ultrasonography surveys are being performed for persons residing in the Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident with an age of up to 18 years. Here, the expected thyroid cancer prevalence in the Fukushima Prefecture is assessed based on an ultrasonography survey of Ukrainians, who were exposed at an age of up to 18 years to 131I released during the Chernobyl NPS accident, and on differences in equipment and study protocol in the two surveys. Radiation risk of thyroid cancer incidence among survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and preliminary estimates of thyroid dose due to the Fukushima accident were used for the prediction of baseline and radiation-related thyroid cancer risks. We estimate a prevalence of thyroid cancer of 0.027 % (95 % CI 0.010 %; 0.050 %) for the first screening campaign in the Fukushima Prefecture. Compared with the incidence rate in Japan in 2007, the ultrasonography survey is predicted to increase baseline thyroid cancer incidence by a factor of 7.4 (95 % CI 0.95; 17.3). Under the condition of continued screening, thyroid cancer during the first fifty years after the accident is predicted to be detected for about 2 % of the screened population. The prediction of radiation-related thyroid cancer in the most exposed fraction (a few ten thousand persons) of the screened population of the Fukushima Prefecture has a large uncertainty with the best estimates of the average risk of 0.1–0.3 %, depending on average dose.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0508-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0508-3
PMCID: PMC3996282  PMID: 24398917
Fukushima; Radiation; Thyroid cancer; Ultrasonography
6.  Karyopathological Traits of Thyrocytes and Exposure to Radioiodines in Belarusian Children and Adolescents following the Accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant 
Radiation and environmental biophysics  2012;51(2):10.1007/s00411-012-0407-z.
The Belarus-American (BelAm) Thyroid Study cohort consists of persons 0–18 years of age at the time of exposure to radioiodines from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident who have undergone serial thyroid screenings with referral for fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) using standardized criteria. We investigated thyrocyte nuclear abnormalities in cytological samples from FNABs in 50 BelAm subjects with thyroid nodules and 43 control patients from Leningrad, Russia, unexposed to Chernobyl fallout. Nuclear abnormalities such as internuclear chromosome bridges and derivative nuclei with broken bridges (i.e., “tailed” nuclei), formed from dicentric and ring chromosomes, may be cellular markers of radiation exposure. In the exposed BelAm cohort, thyrocytes with bridges were present in 80% of subjects with single-nodular goiters compared with 27% of unexposed controls. The average frequency of thyrocytes with bridges was also significantly higher in the BelAm subjects than in controls as was the mean frequency of thyrocytes with tailed nuclei. In the case of multi-nodular goiters, thyrocytes with bridges were present in 75.0% of exposed BelAm patients compared with 16.7% of unexposed controls. Thyrocytes with tailed nuclei were observed in all of the BelAm subjects but in only 35% of controls, and the mean frequency of tailed nuclei was significantly higher. Unusually long bridges were detected in 29% of BelAm patients with single-nodular goiters and 35% of cases with multi-nodular goiters, while no such abnormalities were observed in the follicular thyroid epithelium of patients from the Leningrad region. Further study is needed to understand whether these phenomena represent irradiation consequences in the human organism.
doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0407-z
PMCID: PMC3857023  PMID: 22382464
thyroid gland; thyrocytes; nuclear abnormalities; Chernobyl accident
7.  Behavior and food consumption pattern of the population exposed in 1949–1962 to fallout from Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan 
Radiation and environmental biophysics  2010;50(1):10.1007/s00411-010-0334-9.
The relationship between radiation exposure from nuclear weapons testing fallout and thyroid disease in a group of 2,994 subjects has been the subject of study by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. In that study, radiation doses to the thyroid were estimated for residents of villages in Kazakhstan possibly exposed to deposition of radioactive fallout from nuclear testing conducted by the Soviet Union at the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan between 1949 and 1962. The study subjects included individuals of both Kazakh and Russian origin who were exposed during childhood and adolescence. An initial dose reconstruction used for the risk analysis of Land et al. (2008) was based on individual information collected from basic questionnaires administered to the study population in 1998. However, because data on several key questions for accurately estimating doses was not obtained from the 1998 questionnaires it was decided to conduct a second data collection campaign in 2007. Due to the many years elapsed since exposure, a well developed strategy was necessary to encourage accurate memory recall. In our recent study, a focus group interview data collection methodology was used to collect historical behavioral and food consumption data. The data collection in 2007 involved interviews conducted within four eight-person focus groups (three groups of women and one group of men) in each of four exposed villages where thyroid disease screening was conducted in 1998. Population-based data on relevant childhood behaviors, including time spent in- and outdoors and consumption rates of milk and other dairy products were collected from women’s groups. The data were collected for five age groups of children and adolescents ranging from less than 1 year of age to 21 years of age. Dairy products considered included fresh milk and other products from cows, goats, mares, and sheep. Men’s focus group interviews pertained to construction materials of houses and schools, and animal grazing patterns and feeding practices. The response data collected are useful for improving estimates of thyroid radiation dose estimates for the subjects of an ongoing epidemiological study.
doi:10.1007/s00411-010-0334-9
PMCID: PMC3853382  PMID: 20938673
8.  Modeling hematopoietic system response caused by chronic exposure to ionizing radiation 
Radiation and environmental biophysics  2011;50(2):10.1007/s00411-011-0351-3.
A new model of the hematopoietic system response in humans chronically exposed to ionizing radiation describes the dynamics of the hematopoietic stem cell compartment as well as the dynamics of each of the four blood cell types (lymphocytes, neutrophiles, erythrocytes, and platelets). The required model parameters were estimated based on available results of human and experimental animal studies. They include the steady-state number of hematopoietic stem cells and peripheral blood cell lines in an unexposed organism, amplification parameters for each blood line, parameters describing proliferation and apoptosis, parameters of feedback functions regulating the steady-state numbers, and characteristics of radiosensitivity related to cell death and non-lethal cell damage. The model predictions were tested using data on hematological measurements (e.g., blood counts) performed in 1950–1956 in the Techa River residents chronically exposed to ionizing radiation since 1949. The suggested model of hematopoiesis is capable of describing experimental findings in the Techa River Cohort, including: i) slopes of the dose-effect curves reflecting the inhibition of hematopoiesis due to chronic ionizing radiation, ii) delay in effect of chronic exposure and accumulated character of the effect, and iii) dose-rate patterns for different cytopenic states (e.g., leukopenia, thrombocytopenia).
doi:10.1007/s00411-011-0351-3
PMCID: PMC3830531  PMID: 21259022
9.  Free radicals properties of gamma-irradiated penicillin-derived antibiotics: piperacillin, ampicillin, and crystalline penicillin 
The aim of this work was to determine the concentrations and properties of free radicals in piperacillin, ampicillin, and crystalline penicillin after gamma irradiation. The radicals were studied by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy using an X-band spectrometer (9.3 GHz). Gamma irradiation was performed at a dose of 25 kGy. One- and two-exponential functions were fitted to the experimental data, in order to assess the influence of the antibiotics’ storage time on the measured EPR lines. After gamma irradiation, complex EPR lines were recorded confirming the presence of a large number of free radicals formed during the irradiation. For all tested antibiotics, concentrations of free radicals and parameters of EPR spectra changed with storage time. The results obtained demonstrate that concentration of free radicals and other spectroscopic parameters can be used to select the optimal parameters of radiation sterilization of β-lactam antibiotics. The most important parameters are the constants τ (τ1(A),(I) and τ2(A),(I)) and K (K0(A),(I), K1(A),(I), K2(A),(I)) of the exponential functions that describe free radicals decay during samples storage.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0498-1
PMCID: PMC3935104  PMID: 24213588
Radiosterilization; Paramagnetic centers; Free radicals; EPR spectroscopy; Antibiotics; β-Lactam antibiotics
10.  Single-cell responses to ionizing radiation 
Radiation and environmental biophysics  2013;52(4):10.1007/s00411-013-0488-3.
While gene expression studies have proved extremely important in understanding cellular processes, it is becoming more apparent that there may be differences in individual cells that are missed by studying the population as a whole. We have developed a qRT-PCR protocol that allows us to assay multiple gene products in small samples, starting at 100 cells and going down to a single cell, and have used it to study radiation responses at the single-cell level. Since the accuracy of qRT-PCR depends greatly on the choice of “housekeeping” genes used for normalization, initial studies concentrated on determining the optimal panel of such genes. Using an endogenous control array, it was found that for IMR90 cells, common housekeeping genes tend to fall into one of two categories—those that are relatively stably expressed regardless of the number of cells in the sample, e.g., B2M, PPIA, and GAPDH, and those that are more variable (again regardless of the size of the population), e.g., YWHAZ, 18S, TBP, and HPRT1. Further, expression levels in commonly studied radiation-response genes, such as ATF3, CDKN1A, GADD45A, and MDM2, were assayed in 100, 10, and single-cell samples. It is here that the value of single-cell analyses becomes apparent. It was observed that the expression of some genes such as FGF2 and MDM2 was relatively constant over all irradiated cells, while that of others such as FAS was considerably more variable. It was clear that almost all cells respond to ionizing radiation but the individual responses were considerably varied. The analyses of single cells indicate that responses in individual cells are not uniform and suggest that responses observed in populations are not indicative of identical patterns in all cells. This in turn points to the value of single-cell analyses.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0488-3
PMCID: PMC3812812  PMID: 23995963
Ionizing radiation; Single-cell analyses; qRT-PCR; Endogenous controls
11.  Current concepts in clinical radiation oncology 
Based on its potent capacity to induce tumor cell death and to abrogate clonogenic survival, radiotherapy is a key part of multimodal cancer treatment approaches. Numerous clinical trials have documented the clear correlation between improved local control and increased overall survival. However, despite all progress, the efficacy of radiation-based treatment approaches is still limited by different technological, biological, and clinical constraints. In principle, the following major issues can be distinguished: (1) The intrinsic radiation resistance of several tumors is higher than that of the surrounding normal tissue, (2) the true patho-anatomical borders of tumors or areas at risk are not perfectly identifiable, (3) the treatment volume cannot be adjusted properly during a given treatment series, and (4) the individual heterogeneity in terms of tumor and normal tissue responses toward irradiation is immense. At present, research efforts in radiation oncology follow three major tracks, in order to address these limitations: (1) implementation of molecularly targeted agents and ‘omics’-based screening and stratification procedures, (2) improvement of treatment planning, imaging, and accuracy of dose application, and (3) clinical implementation of other types of radiation, including protons and heavy ions. Several of these strategies have already revealed promising improvements with regard to clinical outcome. Nevertheless, many open questions remain with individualization of treatment approaches being a key problem. In the present review, the current status of radiation-based cancer treatment with particular focus on novel aspects and developments that will influence the field of radiation oncology in the near future is summarized and discussed.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0497-2
PMCID: PMC3935099  PMID: 24141602
Radiotherapy; IMRT/IGRT; Particle therapy; Targeted therapy; Biomarkers; Personalized medicine
12.  Single-cell responses to ionizing radiation 
While gene expression studies have proved extremely important in understanding cellular processes, it is becoming more apparent that there may be differences in individual cells that are missed by studying the population as a whole. We have developed a qRT-PCR protocol that allows us to assay multiple gene products in small samples, starting at 100 cells and going down to a single cell, and have used it to study radiation responses at the single-cell level. Since the accuracy of qRT-PCR depends greatly on the choice of “housekeeping” genes used for normalization, initial studies concentrated on determining the optimal panel of such genes. Using an endogenous control array, it was found that for IMR90 cells, common housekeeping genes tend to fall into one of two categories—those that are relatively stably expressed regardless of the number of cells in the sample, e.g., B2M, PPIA, and GAPDH, and those that are more variable (again regardless of the size of the population), e.g., YWHAZ, 18S, TBP, and HPRT1. Further, expression levels in commonly studied radiation-response genes, such as ATF3, CDKN1A, GADD45A, and MDM2, were assayed in 100, 10, and single-cell samples. It is here that the value of single-cell analyses becomes apparent. It was observed that the expression of some genes such as FGF2 and MDM2 was relatively constant over all irradiated cells, while that of others such as FAS was considerably more variable. It was clear that almost all cells respond to ionizing radiation but the individual responses were considerably varied. The analyses of single cells indicate that responses in individual cells are not uniform and suggest that responses observed in populations are not indicative of identical patterns in all cells. This in turn points to the value of single-cell analyses.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0488-3
PMCID: PMC3812812  PMID: 23995963
Ionizing radiation; Single-cell analyses; qRT-PCR; Endogenous controls
13.  Damage clusters after gamma irradiation of a nanoparticulate plasmid DNA peptide condensate 
We have gamma irradiated plasmid DNA in aqueous solution in the presence of sub millimolar concentrations of the ligand tetra-arginine. Depending upon the ionic strength, under these conditions the plasmid can adopt a highly compacted and aggregated form which attenuates by some two orders of magnitude the yield of damage produced by the indirect effect. The yields of DNA single and double strand breaks (SSB and DSB) which result are closely comparable with those produced in living cells. The radical lifetimes, diffusion distances, and track structure are expected to be similarly well reproduced. After irradiation, the aggregation was reversed by adjusting the ionic conditions. The approximate spatial distribution of the resulting DNA damage was then assayed using by comparing the increases in the SSB and DSB yields produced by a subsequent incubation with limiting concentrations of the eukaryotic base excision repair enzymes formamidopyrimidine-DNA N-glycosylase (the FPG protein) and endonuclease III. Smaller increases in DSB yields were observed in the plasmid target that was irradiated in the condensed form. By modeling the spatial distribution of DNA damage, this result can be interpreted in terms of a greater extent of damage clustering.
doi:10.1007/s00411-011-0388-3
PMCID: PMC3288216  PMID: 21964719
Gamma radiation; DNA damage; DNA condensation; Clustered damage
14.  Background stratified Poisson regression analysis of cohort data 
Background stratified Poisson regression is an approach that has been used in the analysis of data derived from a variety of epidemiologically important studies of radiation-exposed populations, including uranium miners, nuclear industry workers, and atomic bomb survivors. We describe a novel approach to fit Poisson regression models that adjust for a set of covariates through background stratification while directly estimating the radiation-disease association of primary interest. The approach makes use of an expression for the Poisson likelihood that treats the coefficients for stratum-specific indicator variables as ‘nuisance’ variables and avoids the need to explicitly estimate the coefficients for these stratum-specific parameters. Log-linear models, as well as other general relative rate models, are accommodated. This approach is illustrated using data from the Life Span Study of Japanese atomic bomb survivors and data from a study of underground uranium miners. The point estimate and confidence interval obtained from this ‘conditional’ regression approach are identical to the values obtained using unconditional Poisson regression with model terms for each background stratum. Moreover, it is shown that the proposed approach allows estimation of background stratified Poisson regression models of non-standard form, such as models that parameterize latency effects, as well as regression models in which the number of strata is large, thereby overcoming the limitations of previously available statistical software for fitting background stratified Poisson regression models.
doi:10.1007/s00411-011-0394-5
PMCID: PMC3288408  PMID: 22193911
Cohort studies; Poisson regression; Ionizing radiation; Survival analysis
15.  Enhanced Intestinal Tumor Multiplicity and Grade in vivo after HZE Exposure: Mouse Models for Space Radiation Risk Estimates 
Carcinogenesis induced by space radiation is considered a major risk factor in manned interplanetary and other extended missions. The models presently used to estimate the risk for cancer induction following deep space radiation exposure are based on data from A-bomb survivor cohorts and do not account for important biological differences existing between high-linear energy transfer (LET) and low-LET-induced DNA damage. High-energy and charge (HZE) radiation, the main component of galactic cosmic rays (CGR), causes highly complex DNA damage compared to low-LET radiation, which may lead to increased frequency of chromosomal rearrangements, and contribute to carcinogenic risk in astronauts. Gastrointestinal (GI) tumors are frequent in the United States, and colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer accounting for 10% of all cancer deaths. On the basis of the aforementioned epidemiological observations and the frequency of spontaneous precancerous GI lesions in the general population, even a modest increase in incidence by space radiation exposure could have a significant effect on health risk estimates for future manned space flights. Ground-based research is necessary to reduce the uncertainties associated with projected cancer risk estimates and to gain insights into molecular mechanisms involved in space radiation-induced carcinogenesis. We investigated in vivo differential effects of γ-rays and HZE ions on intestinal tumorigenesis using two different murine models, ApcMin/+ and Apc1638 N/+. We showed that γ- and/or HZE exposure significantly enhances development and progression of intestinal tumors in a mutant-line-specific manner, and identified suitable models for in vivo studies of space radiation–induced intestinal tumorigenesis.
doi:10.1007/s00411-010-0292-2
PMCID: PMC3580182  PMID: 20490531
Apc; intestinal tumorigenesis; space radiation; risk estimates
16.  Using electron beam radiation to simulate the dose distribution for whole body solar particle event proton exposure 
As a part of the near solar system exploration program, astronauts may receive significant total body proton radiation exposures during a solar particle event (SPE). In the Center for Acute Radiation Research (CARR), symptoms of the acute radiation sickness syndrome induced by conventional radiation are being compared to those induced by SPE-like proton radiation, to determine the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of SPE protons. In an SPE, the astronaut’s whole body will be exposed to radiation consisting mainly of protons with energies below 50 MeV. In addition to providing for a potentially higher RBE than conventional radiation, the energy distribution for an SPE will produce a relatively inhomogeneous total body dose distribution, with a significantly higher dose delivered to the skin and subcutaneous tissues than to the internal organs. These factors make it difficult to use a 60Co standard for RBE comparisons in our experiments. Here, the novel concept of using megavoltage electron beam radiation to more accurately reproduce both the total dose and the dose distribution of SPE protons and make meaningful RBE comparisons between protons and conventional radiation is described. In these studies, Monte Carlo simulation was used to determine the dose distribution of electron beam radiation in small mammals such as mice and ferrets as well as large mammals such as pigs. These studies will help to better define the topography of the time-dose-fractionation versus biological response landscape for astronaut exposure to an SPE.
doi:10.1007/s00411-010-0315-z
PMCID: PMC3575686  PMID: 20725839
17.  Bomb-pulse 14C analysis combined with 13C and 15N measurements in blood serum from residents of Malmö, Sweden 
The 14C content of 60 human blood serum samples from residents of Malmö (Sweden) in 1978, obtained from a biobank, has been measured to estimate the accuracy of 14C bomb-pulse dating. The difference between the date estimated using the Calibomb software and sampling date varied between −3 ± 0.4 and +0.2 ± 0.5 years. The average age deviation of all samples was −1.5 ± 0.7 years, with the delay between production and consumption of foodstuffs being probably the dominating cause. The potential influence of food habits on the 14C date has been evaluated using stable isotope δ13C and δ15N analysis and information about the dietary habits of the investigated individuals. Although the group consisting of lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans (pooled group) was not completely separated from the omnivores in a stable isotopic trophic level diagram, this analysis proved to add valuable information on probable dietary habits. The age deviation of the sampling date from the respective Calibomb date was found strongly correlated with the δ13C values, probably due to influence from marine diet components. For the omnivore individuals, there were indications of seasonal effects on δ13C and the age deviation. No significant correlation was found between the age deviation and the δ15N values of any dietary group. No influence of sex or year of birth was found on neither the 14C nor the δ13C and δ15N values of the serum samples. The data were also divided into two groups (omnivores and pooled group), based on the level of δ15N in the samples. The consumption of high δ15N-valued fish and birds can be responsible for this clustering.
doi:10.1007/s00411-013-0458-9
PMCID: PMC3677238  PMID: 23358598
Serum; Bomb-pulse dating; Stable isotopes
18.  Are mouse lens epithelial cells more sensitive to γ-irradiation than lymphocytes? 
In this pilot study we compared for the first time the radiation sensitivity of mouse lens epithelial cells (LECs) and mouse lymphocytes. We freshly prepared LECs and lymphocytes and irradiated them with γ-rays (137Cs; doses ranging from 0.25 to 2 Gy). DNA damage and repair were evaluated by alkaline comet assay and γH2AX foci assay. Using the comet assay, we observed a dose-dependent increase in DNA damage in both cell types. The faster formation of single- and double-strand breaks in LECs of C57BL/6 mice at doses below 1 Gy needs to be confirmed in other mouse strains. Immunofluorescence for γH2AX foci showed a higher degree of lesions in LECs from C57BL/6J mice compared to those of JF1 mice and to lymphocytes of both strains. Correspondingly, repair of DNA damage proceeded faster in LECs of C57BL/6J mice compared to LECs of JF1 mice and lymphocytes of both strains. It is obvious that the lymphocytes of both strains repaired DNA lesions more slowly than the corresponding LECs. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that LECs of C57Bl/6 mice show a steeper dose–response than lymphocytes in both types of experiments. It shows that both test systems are able to be used also at doses below 0.25 Gy. The observed difference in DNA repair between the LECs from C57BL/6J mice compared to the LECs from JF1 mice and to the lymphocytes of both strains warrants further experiments to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms.
doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0451-8
PMCID: PMC3677237  PMID: 23321930
Lens epithelial cells; Lymphocytes; Gamma-irradiation; Comet assay; Gamma-H2AX assay; Radiation sensitivity
19.  Independent analysis of the radiation risk for leukaemia in children and adults with mortality data (1950–2003) of Japanese A-bomb survivors 
A recent analysis of leukaemia mortality in Japanese A-bomb survivors has applied descriptive models, collected together from previous studies, to derive a joint excess relative risk estimate (ERR) by multi-model inference (MMI) (Walsh and Kaiser in Radiat Environ Biophys 50:21–35, 2011). The models use a linear-quadratic dose response with differing dose effect modifiers. In the present study, a set of more than 40 models has been submitted to a rigorous statistical selection procedure which fosters the parsimonious deployment of model parameters based on pairwise likelihood ratio tests. Nested models were consequently excluded from risk assessment. The set comprises models of the excess absolute risk (EAR) and two types of non-standard ERR models with sigmoidal responses or two line spline functions with a changing slope at a break point. Due to clearly higher values of the Akaike Information Criterion, none of the EAR models has been selected, but two non-standard ERR models qualified for MMI. The preferred ERR model applies a purely quadratic dose response which is slightly damped by an exponential factor at high doses and modified by a power function for attained age. Compared to the previous analysis, the present study reports similar point estimates and confidence intervals (CI) of the ERR from MMI for doses between 0.5 and 2.5 Sv. However, at lower doses, the point estimates are markedly reduced by factors between two and five, although the reduction was not statistically significant. The 2.5 % percentiles of the ERR from the preferred quadratic-exponential model did not fall below zero risk in exposure scenarios for children, adolescents and adults at very low doses down to 10 mSv. Yet, MMI produced risk estimates with a positive 2.5 % percentile only above doses of some 300 mSv. Compared to CI from a single model of choice, CI from MMI are broadened in cohort strata with low statistical power by a combination of risk extrapolations from several models. Reverting to MMI can relieve the dilemma of needing to choose between models with largely different consequences for risk assessment in public health.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0437-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0437-6
PMCID: PMC3579470  PMID: 23124826
Leukaemia mortality; Radiation risk; A-bomb survivors; Nonlinear dose response; Multi-model inference
20.  Effective dose conversion coefficients for radionuclides exponentially distributed in the ground 
In order to provide fundamental data required for dose evaluation due to environmental exposures, effective dose conversion coefficients, that is, the effective dose rate per unit activity per unit area, were calculated for a number of potentially important radionuclides, assuming an exponential distribution in ground, over a wide range of relaxation depths. The conversion coefficients were calculated for adults and a new-born baby on the basis of dosimetric methods that the authors and related researchers have previously developed, using Monte Carlo simulations and anthropomorphic computational phantoms. The differences in effective dose conversion coefficients due to body size between the adult and baby phantoms were found to lie within 50 %, for most cases; however, for some low energies, differences could amount to a factor of 3. The effective dose per unit source intensity per area was found to decrease by a factor of 2–5, for increasing relaxation depths from 0 to 5 g/cm2, above a source energy of 50 keV. It is also shown that implementation of the calculated coefficients into the computation of the tissue weighting factors and the adult reference computational phantoms of ICRP Publication 103 does not significantly influence the effective dose conversion coefficients of the environment. Consequently, the coefficients shown in this paper could be applied for the evaluation of effective doses, as defined according to both recommendations of ICRP Publications 103 and 60.
doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0432-y
PMCID: PMC3478507  PMID: 22868400
Effective dose; Conversion coefficients; Ground source; Exponential distribution; Radionuclides
21.  Dose–responses from multi-model inference for the non-cancer disease mortality of atomic bomb survivors 
The non-cancer mortality data for cerebrovascular disease (CVD) and cardiovascular diseases from Report 13 on the atomic bomb survivors published by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation were analysed to investigate the dose–response for the influence of radiation on these detrimental health effects. Various parametric and categorical models (such as linear-no-threshold (LNT) and a number of threshold and step models) were analysed with a statistical selection protocol that rated the model description of the data. Instead of applying the usual approach of identifying one preferred model for each data set, a set of plausible models was applied, and a sub-set of non-nested models was identified that all fitted the data about equally well. Subsequently, this sub-set of non-nested models was used to perform multi-model inference (MMI), an innovative method of mathematically combining different models to allow risk estimates to be based on several plausible dose–response models rather than just relying on a single model of choice. This procedure thereby produces more reliable risk estimates based on a more comprehensive appraisal of model uncertainties. For CVD, MMI yielded a weak dose–response (with a risk estimate of about one-third of the LNT model) below a step at 0.6 Gy and a stronger dose–response at higher doses. The calculated risk estimates are consistent with zero risk below this threshold-dose. For mortalities related to cardiovascular diseases, an LNT-type dose–response was found with risk estimates consistent with zero risk below 2.2 Gy based on 90% confidence intervals. The MMI approach described here resolves a dilemma in practical radiation protection when one is forced to select between models with profoundly different dose–responses for risk estimates.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0410-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0410-4
PMCID: PMC3332375  PMID: 22437350
Risk assessment; Radiation; Cerebrovascular disease; Cardiovascular diseases; Threshold-dose; LNT
22.  Investigation on circular asymmetry of geographical distribution in cancer mortality of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors based on risk maps: analysis of spatial survival data 
While there is a considerable number of studies on the relationship between the risk of disease or death and direct exposure from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the risk for indirect exposure caused by residual radioactivity has not yet been fully evaluated. One of the reasons is that risk assessments have utilized estimated radiation doses, but that it is difficult to estimate indirect exposure. To evaluate risks for other causes, including indirect radiation exposure, as well as direct exposure, a statistical method is described here that evaluates risk with respect to individual location at the time of atomic bomb exposure instead of radiation dose. In addition, it is also considered to split the risks into separate risks due to direct exposure and other causes using radiation dose. The proposed method is applied to a cohort study of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors. The resultant contour map suggests that the region west to the hypocenter has a higher risk compared to other areas. This in turn suggests that there exists an impact on risk that cannot be explained by direct exposure.
doi:10.1007/s00411-012-0402-4
PMCID: PMC3332363  PMID: 22302183
Atomic bomb survivors; Direct exposure; Indirect exposure; Spatial survival data; Spatially varying coefficient
23.  Review and meta-analysis of epidemiological associations between low/moderate doses of ionizing radiation and circulatory disease risks, and their possible mechanisms 
Although the link between high doses of ionizing radiation and damage to the heart and coronary arteries has been well established for some time, the association between lower-dose exposures and late occurring cardiovascular disease has only recently begun to emerge, and is still controversial. In this paper, we extend an earlier systematic review by Little et al. on the epidemiological evidence for associations between low and moderate doses of ionizing radiation exposure and late occurring blood circulatory system disease. Excess relative risks per unit dose in epidemiological studies vary over at least two orders of magnitude, possibly a result of confounding and effect modification by well-known (but unobserved) risk factors, and there is statistically significant (p < 0.00001) heterogeneity between the risks. This heterogeneity is reduced, but remains significant, if adjustments are made for the effects of fractionated delivery or if there is stratification by endpoint (cardiovascular disease vs. stroke, morbidity vs. mortality). One possible biological mechanism is damage to endothelial cells and subsequent induction of an inflammatory response, although it seems unlikely that this would extend to low-dose and low-dose-rate exposure. A recent paper of Little et al. proposed an arguably more plausible mechanism for fractionated low-dose effects, based on monocyte cell killing in the intima. Although the predictions of the model are consistent with the epidemiological data, the experimental predictions made have yet to be tested. Further epidemiological and biological evidence will allow a firmer conclusion to be drawn.
doi:10.1007/s00411-009-0250-z
PMCID: PMC3075616  PMID: 19862545
24.  Diagnostic X-ray examinations and increased chromosome translocations: evidence from three studies 
Controversy regarding potential health risks from increased use of medical diagnostic radiologic examinations has come to public attention. We evaluated whether chromosome damage, specifically translocations, which are a potentially intermediate biomarker for cancer risk, was increased after exposure to diagnostic X-rays, with particular interest in the ionizing radiation dose–response below the level of approximately 50 mGy. Chromosome translocation frequency data from three separately conducted occupational studies of ionizing radiation were pooled together. Studies 1 and 2 included 79 and 150 medical radiologic technologists, respectively, and study 3 included 83 airline pilots and 50 university faculty members (total = 155 women and 207 men; mean age = 62 years, range 34–90). Information on personal history of radiographic examinations was collected from a detailed questionnaire. We computed a cumulative red bone marrow (RBM) dose score based on the numbers and types of X-ray examinations reported with 1 unit approximating 1 mGy. Poisson regression analyses were adjusted for age and laboratory method. Mean RBM dose scores were 49, 42, and 11 for Studies 1–3, respectively (overall mean = 33.5, range 0–303). Translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing dose score (P < 0.001). Restricting the analysis to the lowest dose scores of under 50 did not materially change these results. We conclude that chromosome damage is associated with low levels of radiation exposure from diagnostic X-ray examinations, including dose scores of approximately 50 and lower, suggesting the possibility of long-term adverse health effects.
doi:10.1007/s00411-010-0307-z
PMCID: PMC3075914  PMID: 20602108
25.  Analysis of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) cell lines 
The purpose of this work was to analyze chemokine and chemokine receptor expression in untreated and in irradiated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) tumor cell lines, aiming at the establishment of assays to test for the relevance of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression in the response of SCCHN to radiotherapy and radiochemotherapy. Five low passage and 10 established SCCHN lines, as well as two normal cell lines, were irradiated at 2 Gy or sham-irradiated, and harvested between 1 and 48 h after treatment. For chemokines with CC and CXC structural motifs and their receptors, transcript levels of target and reference genes were quantified relatively by real-time PCR. In addition, CXCL1 and CXCL12 protein expression was analyzed by ELISA. A substantial variation in chemokine and chemokine receptor expression between SCCHN was detected. Practically, all cell lines expressed CCL5 and CCL20, while CCL2 was expressed in normal cells and in some of the tumor cell lines. CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL3, CXCL10, and CXCL11 were expressed in the vast majority of the cell lines, while the expression of CXCL9 and CXCL12 was restricted to fibroblasts and few tumor cell lines. None of the analyzed cell lines expressed the chemokines CCL3, CCL4, or CCL19. Of the receptors, transcript expression of CCR1, CCR2, CCR3, CCR5, CCR7, CCXR2, and CCXR3 was not detected, and CCR6, CXCR1, and CXCR4 expression was restricted to few tumor cells. Radiation caused up- and down-regulation with respect to chemokine expressions, while for chemokine receptor expressions down-regulations were prevailing. CXCL1 and CXCL12 protein expression corresponded well with the mRNA expression. We conclude that the substantial variation in chemokine and chemokine receptor expression between SCCHN offer opportunities for the establishment of assays to test for the relevance of chemokine and chemokine receptor expression in the response of SCCHN to radiotherapy and radiochemotherapy.
doi:10.1007/s00411-010-0341-x
PMCID: PMC3040826  PMID: 21085979

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