The use of X-rays for medical diagnosis is enhancing exposure to low radiation doses. Exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic or magnetic fields is also increasing. Epidemiological studies show consistent associations of childhood leukaemia with exposure to magnetic fields but any causal relationship is unclear. A limitation in assessing the consequence of such exposure is the availability of sensitive assays. The embryonic neuronal stem and progenitor cell compartments are radiosensitive tissues. Using sensitive assays, we report a statistically significant increase in DNA doublestrand break (DSB) formation and apoptosis in the embryonic neuronal stem cell compartment following in utero exposure to 10-200 mGy X-rays. Both endpoints show a linear response. We also show that DSB repair is delayed following exposure to doses below 50 mGy compared with 100 mGy. Thus, we demonstrate in vivo consequences of low-dose radiation. In contrast to these impacts, we did not observe any significant induction of DSBs or apoptosis following exposure to 50 Hz magnetic fields (100 or 300 mT). We conclude that any DSB induction by treatment with magnetic fields is lower than following exposure to 10 mGy X-rays. For comparison, certain procedures involving computed tomography scanning are equivalent to 1-5 mGy X-rays.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
- DNA damage response
- DNA double-strand breaks
- Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields
- Low-dose radiation