Mutation induction by charged particles of defined linear energy transfer

Tom K. Hei, David J. Chen, David J. Brenner, Eric J. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The mutagenic potential of charged particles of defined linear energy transfer (LET) was assessed using the hypoxanthineguanine phosphoribosyl transferase locus (HGPRT) in primary human fibroblasts. Exponentially growing cultures of early passaged fibroblasts were grown as monolayers on thin mylar sheets and were irradiated with accelerated protons, deuterons or helium-3 ions.The mutation rates were compared with those generated by 137Cs 7 γ-rays. LET values for charged particles accelerated at the Radiological Research Accelerator Facility, using the track segment mode, ranged from 10 to 150 keV/ μtm. After irradiation, cells were trypsinized, subcultured and assayed for both cytotoxicity and 6-thioguanine resistance. For γ-rays, and for the charged particles of lower LET, the dose-response curves for cell survival were characterized by a marked initial shoulder, but approximated to an exponential function of dose for higher LETs. Mutation frequencies, likewise, showed a direct correlation to LET over the dose range examined. Relative biological effectiveness (RBE) for mutagenesis, based on the initial slopes of the doseresponse curves, ranged from 1.30 for 10 keV/ μim protons to 9.40 for 150 keV/ μm helium-3 ions. Results of the present studies indicate that high-LET radiations, apart from being efficient inducers of cell lethality, are even more efficient in mutation induction as compared to low-LET ionizing radiation. These data are consistent with results previously obtained with both rodent and human fibroblast cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1236
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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