Scanning Microscopy


Radiation causes damage to cell surface membranes, cytoplasmic organelles, and the nuclear process of DNA synthesis and repair, and this eventually results in different modes of cell death. In this study we examined murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells, exposed to 15 and 60 Gy of 10 MeV photonic energy, and left in culture for up to 96 hours. Electron microscopical analysis was performed on conventionally embedded samples and freeze-fracture replicas, in order to detect ultrastructural patterns of cell damage and death. Of interest was the observation of chromatin condensates, nuclear membrane associations and nuclear pore redistribution during early apoptosis. Pronounced rearrangements of transmembrane particles during late stages of cellular necrosis were also found. The morphological damage induced by both doses of radiation as a function of time after exposure was only quantitatively but not qualitatively different.

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