The dicentric chromosome assay (DCA), which involves counting the frequency of dicentric chromosomes in mitotic lymphocytes and converting it to a dose-estimation for ionizing radiation exposure, is considered to be the gold standard for radiation biodosimetry. Furthermore, for emergency response, the DCA has been adapted for triage by simplifying the scoring method [1]. With the development of new technologies such as the imaging flow cytometer, it may now be possible to adapt this microscope-based method to an automated cytometry method. This technology allows the sensitivity of microscopy to be maintained while adding the increased throughput of flow cytometry. A new protocol is being developed to adapt the DCA to the imaging cytometer in order to further increase the rapid determination of a biological dose. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from ex vivo irradiated whole blood samples using a density gradient separation method and cultured with PHA and Colcemid. After 48h incubation, the chromosomes were isolated, stained for DNA content with propidium iodide (PI) and labelled with a centromere marker. Stained chromosomes were then analyzed on the ImageStream× (EMD-Millipore, Billerica, MA).Preliminary results indicate that individual chromosomes can be identified and mono- and dicentric chromosomes can be differentiated by imaging cytometry. A dose response curve was generated using this technology. The details of the method and the dose response curve are presented and compared to traditional microscope scoring. Imaging cytometry is a new technology which enables the rapid, automated analysis of fluorescently labelled chromosomes. Adapting the dicentric assay to this technology has the potential for high throughput analysis for mass casualty events.

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Keywords Biodosimetry, Chromosome damage, Dicentric chromosome assay, Imaging flow cytometry, Rapid triage
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Journal Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Beaton, L.A. (L. A.), Ferrarotto, C. (C.), Kutzner, B.C. (B. C.), McNamee, J.P. (J. P.), Bellier, P.V. (P. V.), & Wilkins, R.C. (2013). Analysis of chromosome damage for biodosimetry using imaging flow cytometry. Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 756(1-2), 192–195. doi:10.1016/j.mrgentox.2013.04.002