Torres, L.A., Rodrigues, A.S., Linhares, D., Camarinho, R., Rego, Z.M.N.P.S. & Garcia, P.V. (2019) Buccal epithelial cell micronuclei: Sensitive, non-invasive biomarkers of occupational exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation.Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 838, 54-58. DOI:10.1016/j.mrgentox.2018.12.009 (IF2016 2,133; Q2 Toxicology)
We have evaluated buccal epithelial cell micronucleus formation as a biomarker of genotoxic damage following occupational exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation. Buccal epithelial cells were collected from 42 occupationally exposed medical personnel and 39 non-exposed individuals (reference group). Each individual in the exposed group was routinely monitored with a personal radiation badge. The frequency of micronucleated cells (MNC) was significantly higher in the exposed group (5.26 vs. 1.33 MNC/2000 cells) and correlated strongly with accumulated radiation dose (Annual Deep Dose, mSv). Occupational exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation was associated with an 80% relative increase in the frequency of MNC (MRR = 1.8; 95% CI: 1.1–2.8), suggesting that such exposures cause DNA damage. This non-invasive biomonitoring method should be generally applicable to studies of workers who are exposed occupationally to low doses of IR.