Evaluation of the reticulocyte micronucleus assay in patients treated with radioiodine for thyroid cancer

Mutation Research
Jan GrawéKlaus Hempel


In the case of accidental radiation exposure, biological dosimetry has an important role. Previous studies have indicated that the flow cytometric micronucleus (MN) assay in human transferrin receptor positive reticulocytes (Tf-Ret) in blood could be a sensitive biomarker for chromosome damage. In the present investigation, the utility and sensitivity of this method was studied in 44 young patients from Belarus, who were treated with 131I for thyroid cancer. Red marrow (RM) is the critical organ in radioiodine therapy (RIT). In our patients, it was exposed to 100-700 mSv low-dose rate irradiation within 2-4 days. About 3 days after 131I administration, the frequency of micronucleated-Tf-Ret (f(MN-Tf-Ret)) increases within 1 day to a maximum and declines in the following 2-5 days to its value before treatment. A total dose of 100 mSv was easily detectable. The sensitivity of the assay after acute irradiation may be 50 mSv. The method should be useful for monitoring individuals after a radiation accident, provided blood samples can be obtained within a few days after exposure. The time-course of f(MN-Tf-Ret) is interpreted using a model, which considers the exponential exposure of red marrow in RIT as well as the kinetics of eryt...Continue Reading


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