Fragmentation and plasmid strand breaks in pure and gold-doped DNA irradiated by beams of fast hydrogen atoms

J.A. Wyer, Karl Butterworth, David Hirst, Colin Latimer, E.C. Montenegro, M Shah, Frederick Currell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The results of an investigation into the damage caused to dry plasmid DNA after irradiation by fast (keV) hydrogen atoms are presented. Agarose gel electrophoresis was used to assess single and double strand break yields as a function of dose in dry DNA samples deposited on a mica substrate. Damage levels were observed to increase with beam energy. Strand break yields demonstrated a considerable dependence on sample structure and the method of sample preparation. Additionally, the effect of high-Z nanoparticles on damage levels was investigated by irradiating DNA samples containing controlled amounts of gold nanoparticles. In contrast to previous (photonic) studies, no enhancement of strand break yields was observed with the particles showing a slight radioprotective effect. A model of DNA damage as a function of dose has been constructed in terms of the probability for the creation of single and double strand breaks, per unit ion flux. This model provides quantitative conclusions about the effects of both gold nanoparticles and the different buffers used in performing the assays and, in addition, infers the proportion of multiply damaged fragments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4705-4721
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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