Objectives : To assess the availability of the glycophorin A (GPA) assay to detect the biological effect of ionizing radiation in workers exposed to low-doses of radiation. Methods : Information on confounding factors, such as age and cigarette smoking was obtained on 144 nuclear power plant workers and 32 hospital workers, by a self-administered questionnaire. Information on physical exposure levels was obtained from the registries of radiation exposure monitoring and control at each facility. The GPA mutant assay was performed using the BR6 method with modification by using a FACScan flow cytometer. Results : As confounders, age and cigarette smoking habits showed increasing trends with GPA variants, but these were of no statistical significance. Hospital workers showed a higher frequency of the GPA variant than nuclear power plant workers in terms of the NO variant. Significant dose-response relationships were obtained from in simple and multiple linear regression models. The slope of the regression equation for nuclear power plant workers was much smaller than that of hospital workers. These findings suggest that there may be apparent dose-rate effects. Conclusion : In population exposed to chronic low-dose radiation, the GPA assay has a potential to be used as an effective biologic marker for assessing the bone marrow cumulative exposure dose.
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