Telomere fragility in radiology workers occupationally exposed to low doses of ionising radiation


Ionising radiation damages DNA directly and indirectly through increased production of reactive oxygen species. Although telomeres have been reported as indicators of radiosensitivity, their maintenance in response to occupational exposure to low radiation doses is still a matter of debate. In this work we aimed to investigate telomere length and structure in hospital workers occupationally exposed to X-rays and to relate these findings to oxidation of biomolecules and chromosome aberrations. Blood samples of exposed participants and matching controls were taken during periodical check-ups. Chromosome aberrations and telomere length and structure were analysed in peripheral blood lymphocytes using Q-FISH, whereas oxidative stress parameters [pro/antioxidant balance (PAB), lipid peroxidation, and 8-oxo-dG] were measured in plasma samples. Based on the CA findings we divided the exposed group into two subgroups, of which one had chromosome aberrations in the first division metaphases and the other did not. There was no significant difference in telomere length between any of the groups. However, both subgroups showed significantly higher rate of fragile telomeres and higher lipid peroxidation product and 8-oxo-dG levels than controls. The rate of fragile telomeres significantly correlated with plasma levels of 8-oxo-dG, which suggests that continuous exposure to low radiation doses induces oxidative base damage of guanine resulting in telomere fragility.

Authors: Jelena Filipović Tričković, Ana Valenta Šobot, Ivana Joksić, Gordana Joksić
; Full Source: Arhiv za higijenu rada i toksikologiju 2022 Apr 7;73(1):23-30. doi: 10.2478/aiht-2022-73-3609.