Rapid detection of radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations in lymphocytes and hematopoietic progenitor cells by mFISH

K. M. Greulich, L. Kreja, B. Heinze, A. P. Rhein, H. U.G. Weier, M. Brückner, P. Fuchs, M. Molls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Structural chromosome aberrations (SCAs) are sensitive indicators of a preceding exposure of the hematopoietic system to ionizing radiation. Cytogenetic investigations have therefore become routine tools for an assessment of absorbed radiation doses and their biological effects after occupational exposure or radiation accidents.Due to its speed and ease of use, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with whole chromosome painting (WCP) probes has become a method of choice to visualize SCAs. Until recently, this technique was limited to a rather small number of chromosomes, which could be tested simultaneously. As a result, only a fraction of the structural aberrations present in a sample could be detected and the overall dose effect had to be calculated by extrapolation. The recent introduction of two genome-wide screening techniques in tumor research, i.e., Spectral Karyotyping (SKY) and multicolor FISH (mFISH) now allows the detection of translocations involving any two non-homologous chromosomes.The present study was prompted by our desire to bring the power of mFISH to bear for the rapid identification of radiation-induced SCAs. We chose two model systems to investigate the utility of mFISH: lymphocytes that were exposed in vitro to 3 Gy photons and single hematopoietic progenitor cell colonies isolated from a Chernobyl victim 9 years after in vivo exposure to 5.4 Sv.In lymphocytes, we found up to 15 different chromosomes involved in rearrangements indicating complex radiation effects. Stable aberrations detected in hematopoietic cell colonies, on the other hand, showed involvement of up to three different chromosomes. These results demonstrated that mFISH is a rapid and powerful approach to detect and characterize radiation-induced SCAs in the hemopoietic system. The application of mFISH is expected to result in a more detailed and, thus, more informative picture of radiation effects. Eventually, this technique will allow researchers to rapidly delineate chromosomal breakpoints and facilitate the identification of the genes involved in radiation tumorigenesis. Copyright (C) 2000.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalMutation Research Regular Papers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2000


  • Chernobyl accident
  • Chromosome aberrations
  • Hematopoietic system
  • Radiation
  • Stem cells
  • mFISH


Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid detection of radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations in lymphocytes and hematopoietic progenitor cells by mFISH'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this