Keywords: comet assay, DNA damage, proton beam irradiation, low radiation, folded tandem ion accelerator, mouse leukocytes, single cell gel electrophoresis, apoptotic cells
Effects of proton beams from the folded tandem ion accelerator on DNA damage in mouse leukocytes using the comet assay
Single cell gel electrophoresis or the comet assay is a sensitive technique to quantify different types of DNA damage, e.g. single strand breaks, double strand breaks, base damage at single cell level of any dividing or non-dividing eukaryotic cell. This paper describes the effect of 3.3 MeV proton beams from the folded tandem ion accelerator on DNA damage in mouse leukocytes using the comet assay. Images of the comets were acquired using an imaging system and quantified using the software SCGE-Pro. One of the salient findings of the study was the presence of highly damaged cells (HDC) as characterised by the presence of large DNA fragments in clusters. In addition, a large percentage of apoptotic cells was observed after proton irradiation. It has been demonstrated that low fluence proton beam irradiation caused damage to a high proportion of cells.