The effect on lymphocyte chromosomes of additional radiation burden due to fallout in Salzburg (Austria) from the Chernobyl accident

J. Pohl-Rüling*, O. Haas, A. Brogger, G. Obe, H. Lettner, F. Daschil, C. Atzmüller, David Lloyd, R. Kubiak, A. T. Natarajan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


An investigation has been carried out to determine whether chromosome aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes reflect the elevated environmental dose of low-LET ionising radiation, mainly due to radiocesium from Chernobyl fallout, to the population living in Salzburg city. Sixteen volunteers were sampled 1 year after the Chernobyl accident. Two of these persons were also sampled before the accident, and then in 1988 and 1990. The radioactive environment of Salzburg city and the radiation burden of its inhabitants have been frequently determined before and after the accident. The Cs-137 content of the volunteers was measured by whole-body counting. The additional external plus internal radiation doses in the year 1987 to the tested individuals ranged between 15 and 68% of the former normal environmental burden. The aberration frequencies showed a sharp increase of about a factor 6 from the pre-Chernobyl dose rate (0.9. mGy/year) to the post-Chernobyl dose rate (about 2 mGy/year total) but then decreased again with higher additional dose. In the two persons analysed before and up to 4 years after the accident the aberration yield showed a significant increase from 1984/85 to 1987, a decrease in 1988 and a further decrease in 1990. If these last 2 values are plotted against additional dose they fit the curve of the pooled 1987 values. The dose-effect curves revealed the same tendency as we found in various previous investigations and support the assumption that repair enzymes could be triggered by a certain amount of damage to the DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalMutation Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991


  • Chernobyl fallout
  • Chromosome aberration
  • Radiation burden


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