A review of studies of ionizing radiation-induced double-strand break clustering

Kevin Prise, M. Pinto, H.C. Newman, B.D. Michael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


Underpinning current models of the mechanisms of the action of radiation is a central role for DNA damage and in particular double-strand breaks (DSBs). For radiations of different LET, there is a need to know the exact yields and distributions of DSBs in human cells. Most measurements of DSB yields within cells now rely on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis as the technique of choice. Previous measurements of DSB yields have suggested that the yields are remarkably similar for different types of radiation with RBE values less than or equal to1.0. More recent studies in mammalian cells, however, have suggested that both the yield and the spatial distribution of DSBs are influenced by radiation quality. RBE values for DSBs induced by high-LET radiations are greater than 1.0, and the distributions are nonrandom. Underlying this is the interaction of particle tracks with the higher-order chromosomal structures within cell nuclei. Further studies are needed to relate nonrandom distributions of DSBs to their rejoining kinetics. At the molecular level, we need to determine the involvement of clustering of damaged bases with strand breakage, and the relationship between higher-order clustering over sizes of kilobase pairs and above to localized clustering at the DNA level. Overall, these studies will allow us to elucidate whether the nonrandom distributions of breaks produced by high-LET particle tracks have any consequences for their repair and biological effectiveness. (C) 2001 by Radiation Research Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-576
Number of pages5
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number5 II
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


Dive into the research topics of 'A review of studies of ionizing radiation-induced double-strand break clustering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this