Scanning Microscopy


Bronchopulmonary macrophages, isolated from canine lungs by saline lavage and grown in tissue culture for short periods, were acutely irradiated with a range of doses of either Americium-241 alpha particles (0.03-48 Gy) or 250 keV x-rays (0.5-24 Gy). Following a 24-hour reincubation and "expression" period, cells were examined for radiation-induced changes in overall viability, as well as in cell morphology and ultrastructure. Results indicated that neither quality of radiation had much effect on cell viability over dose ranges examined, but substantial changes in cell volume, surface topography, and cytoplasmic features were noted, especially in the alpha-particle-irradiated specimens. Results support the concept that the limiting plasma membrane of the targeted macrophage is a sensitive subcellular target for ionizing radiation, especially high-linear-energy-transfer heavy particles.

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