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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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The cytogenetic dosimetry of recent accidental overexposure

Voisin P, Benderitter M, Claraz M, Chambrette V, Sorokine-Durm I, Delbos M, Durand V, Leroy A, Paillole N. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand) 2001 May;47(3):557-564

Summary

When accidental exposure to ionizing radiations is suspected, optimal choice of a treatment strategy requires, in addition to information about the clinical signs and physical dosimetry, a determination by biological parameters of the dose received. The scoring of unstable chromosomal aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes is the current reference method. Preparation of these samples depends on the goal sought--an exact assessment of several irradiations or rapid triage in the case of a large-scale accident. Moreover, some adaptation may be necessary if the irradiation is either heterogenous or not recent. Despite the robustness and adaptability of this procedure, conventional cytogenetics remains a tedious and time-consuming technique, and it requires specialized staff. Scoring micronuclei in binucleated lymphocytes may be an easier, simpler altemative to a dicentric assay. This paper, which is based on the experience acquired by the IRSN in recent years in expert assessment of suspected radiations, has as its goal to provide a succinct technical guideline of these different approaches, as they are adapted to suspected recent irradiation and triage.

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