Clustered DNA damages induced by high and low LET radiation, including heavy ions

B. M. Sutherland, P. V. Bennett, H. Schenk, O. Sidorkina, J. Laval, J. Trunk, D. Monteleone, J. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Clustered DNA damages - here defined as two or more lesions (strand breaks, oxidized purines, oxidized pyrimidines or abasic sites) within a few helical turns - have been postulated as difficult to repair accurately, and thus highly significant biological lesions. Further, attempted repair of clusters may produce double strand breaks (DSBs). However, until recently, there was no way to measure ionizing radiation-induced clustered damages, except DSB. We recently described an approach for measuring classes of clustered damages (oxidized purine clusters, oxidized pyrimidine clusters, abasic clusters, along with DSB). We showed that ionizing radiation (gamma rays and Fe ions, 1 GeV/amu) does induce such clusters in genomic DNA in solution and in human cells (Sutherland et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000: 97; 103-108). These studies also showed that each damage cluster results from one radiation hit (and its track), thus indicating that they can be induced by very low doses of radiation, i.e. two independent hits are not required for cluster induction. Further, among all complex damages, double strand breaks comprise - at most - ∼ 20%, with the other clustered damages being at least 80%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-204
Number of pages3
JournalPhysica Medica
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Abasic sites
  • Clustered damages
  • DNA damage
  • Oxidized bases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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