Genotoxicity Associated with 131 I and 99m Tc Exposure in Nuclear Medicine Staff: A Physical and Biological Monitoring Study


Nuclear medicine staff are constantly exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation. This study investigated the level of genotoxic effects in hospital employees exposed to routinely used 131I and 99mTc in comparison with a control group. The study compared the results of physical and biological monitoring in peripheral blood lymphocytes. The effects of confounding factors, such as smoking status and physical activity, were also considered. Physical dosimetry monitoring revealed differences in the individual annual effective dose as measured by finger ring dosimeter and whole-body dosimeter between the 131I- and 99mTc-exposed groups. The DNA damage studies revealed differences between the groups in terms of excess premature chromosome condensation (PCC) fragments and tail DNA. Physical activity and smoking status differentiated the investigated groups. When assessed by the level of physical activity, the highest mean values of tail DNA were observed for the 99mTc group. When assessed by work-related physical effort, excess PCC fragments were significantly higher in the 131I group than in the control group. In the investigated groups, the tail DNA values were significantly different between non-smokers and past or current smokers, but excess PCC fragments did not significantly differ by smoking status. It is important to measure exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation and assess the potential risk from this exposure. Such investigations support the need to continue epidemiological and experimental studies to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of the health effects of radionuclides and to develop predictive models of the behavior of these complex systems in response to low-dose radiation.

Authors: Justyna Miszczyk, Aleksander Gałaś, Agnieszka Panek, Aldona Kowalska, Magdalena Kostkiewicz, Eliza Borkowska, Kamil Brudecki
; Full Source: Cells 2022 May 16;11(10):1655. doi: 10.3390/cells11101655.