DOI: 10.1186/s13550-018-0422-4Pages: 1-7

Correlation of the absorbed dose to the blood and DNA damage in leukocytes after internal ex-vivo irradiation of blood samples with Ra-224

1. University of Würzburg, Department of Nuclear Medicine

2. Bundeswehr Institute of Radiobiology affiliated to the University of Ulm

Correspondence to:
Sarah Schumann
Tel: +49-931-201-35459




Irradiation with α-particles creates densely packed damage tracks along particle trajectories in exposed cells, including complex DNA damage and closely spaced double-strand breaks (DSBs) in hit nuclei. Here, we investigated the correlation of the absorbed dose to the blood and the number of α-induced DNA damage tracks elicited in human blood leukocytes after ex-vivo in-solution exposure with Ra-224. The aim was to compare the data to previously published data on Ra-223 and to investigate differences in DNA damage induction between the two radium isotopes.


Blood samples from three healthy volunteers were exposed ex-vivo to six different concentrations of Ra-224 dichloride. Absorbed doses to the blood were calculated assuming local energy deposition of all α- and β-particles of the Ra-224 decay chain, ranging from 0 to 127 mGy. γ-H2AX + 53BP1 DNA damage co-staining and analysis was performed on ethanol-fixed leukocytes isolated from the irradiated blood samples. For damage quantification, α-induced DNA damage tracks and small γ-H2AX + 53BP1 DSB foci were enumerated in the exposed leukocytes. This revealed a linear relationship between the frequency of α-induced γ-H2AX damage tracks and the absorbed dose to the blood, while the frequency of small γ-H2AX + 53BP1 DSB foci indicative of β-irradiation was similar to baseline values.


Our data provide a first estimation of the DNA damage induced by Ra-224 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A comparison with our previously published Ra-223 data suggests that there is no difference in the induction of radiation-induced DNA damage between the two radium isotopes due to their similar decay properties.

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  • Accepted: Jul 6, 2018
  • Online: Aug 6, 2018

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