Chromosome Aberrations in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes of Croatian Hospital Staff Occupationally Exposed to Low Levels of Ionising Radiation
Medical staff is an occupational group exposed to different agents suspected to induce genetic damage. Among them ionising radiation is the most studied. Cytogenetic analysis of human chromosomes in peripheral lymphocytes allows direct detection of mutation in somatic cells. This study investigated the cytogenetic effects of low-level ionising x-radiation in 48-hour peripheral blood lymphocyte cultures sampled from 765 hospital staff occupationally exposed to several agents known or suspected to induce chromosome damage and compared them with 200 control subjects. The exposed subjects were divided in eight (8) groups according to their specialities and job titles. The exposed groups manifested an increase in all types of chromosome aberrations. Acentric fragments were the most frequent chromosome-type aberration. Dicentric chromosomes were statistically significant only in urologists/gynaecologists. Age and smoking significantly influenced the incidence of dicentrics in the exposed groups. The frequency of ring chromosomes was low in all exposed groups (range: 0-2), and none were found in the control group. These findings indicate the importance of periodic medical checkups of hospital staff occupationally exposed to low doses of ionising radiation. The purpose is to create an individual cytogenetic register, where changes could evidence individual risks.
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