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α-Irradiation setup for primary human cell cultures

: Maier, A.; Wiedemann, J.; Adrian, J.A.; Dornhecker, M.; Zipf, A.; Kraft-Weyrather, W.; Kraft, G.; Richter, S.; Teuscher, N.; Fournier, C.


International journal of radiation biology 96 (2020), No.2, pp.206-213
ISSN: 0020-7616
ISSN: 0955-3002
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IMWS ()

Purpose: We present an α-irradiation setup for the irradiation of primary human cell cultures under controlled conditions using 241Am α-particles.
Materials and Methods: To irradiate samples with α-particles in a valid manner, a reliable dosimetry is a great challenge because of the short α-range and the complex energy spectrum. Therefore, the distance between α-source and sample must be minimal. In the present setup, this is achieved by cells growing on a 2 μm thick biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (boPET) foil which is only 2.7 mm apart from the source. A precise and reproducible exposure time is realized through a mechanical shutter. The fluence, energy spectra and the corresponding linear energy transfer are determined by the source geometry and the material traversed. They were measured and calculated, yielding a dose rate of 8.2 ± 2.4 Gy/min. To improve cell growth on boPET foils, they were treated with air plasma. This treatment increased the polarity and thus the ability of cells attaching to the surface of the foil. Several tests including cell growth, staining for a marker of DNA double-strand breaks and a colony-forming assay were performed and confirm our dosimetry.
Conclusion: With our setup, it is possible to irradiate cell cultures under defined conditions with α-particles. The plasma-treated foil is suitable for primary human cell cultures as shown in cell experiments, confirming also the expected number of particle traversals.