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Differential radio-sensitivities of human chromosomes 1 and 2 in one donor in interphase- and metaphase-spreads after 60Co γ-irradiation

Rupak Pathak, Adarsh Ramakumar*, Uma Subramanian and Pataje GS Prasanna*

Author Affiliations

Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA

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BMC Medical Physics 2009, 9:6  doi:10.1186/1756-6649-9-6

Published: 16 June 2009



Radiation-induced chromosome aberrations lead to a plethora of detrimental effects at cellular level. Chromosome aberrations provide broad spectrum of information ranging from probability of malignant transformation to assessment of absorbed dose. Studies mapping differences in radiation sensitivities between human chromosomes are seldom undertaken. Consequently, health risk assessment based on radio-sensitivities of individual chromosomes may be erroneous. Our efforts in this article, attempt to demonstrate differences in radio-sensitivities of human chromosome-1 and/or -2, both in interphase and metaphase spreads.


Upon blood collection, dosimetry and irradiation were performed. Lymphocytes were isolated after whole-blood irradiation with 60Co γ-rays in the dose range of 0–5 Gy for both interphase, and metaphase aberration studies. Induction of premature chromosome condensation in interphase cells was accomplished using a phosphatase inhibitor, calyculin-A. Metaphase spreads were harvested from short-term peripheral blood lymphocyte cultures following colcemid arrest and using an automated metaphase harvester and spreader. Aberration analysis in both interphase and metaphase spreads were done using FISH.


In interphase, aberrant cell and aberration frequency involving chromosome 1 and/or 2 increased linearly with radiation dose. In metaphase, aberrations increased in a linear-quadratic manner with dose. Our studies ascertain that chromosome-2 is more radio-sensitive than chromosome-1 in both interphase and metaphase stages, albeit the DNA content of chromosome-2 is lesser than chromosome-1 by almost 10 million base pairs.


Differences in radio-sensitivities of chromosomes have implications in genetic damage, chromosome organization, and chromosome function. Designing research experiments based on our vital findings may bring benefit to radiation-induced risk assessment, therapeutics and development of chromosome specific biomarkers.