A cytogenic monitoring approach of hospital workers occuptionally exposed to ionizing radiations using micronucleus assay

  • Salma Sultana
  • Sadia Tabassum
  • Tayyaba Sultana
  • K. A. Al-Ghanim
  • Komal Shah
  • Tehniat Shahid
  • Shahid Mahboob
Keywords: Radiations, Hospital workers, Sex, Micronucleus assay, Chromosomal damage


Background: The objective of this study was to determine chromosomal damage in occupational workers of the radiation department from three different hospitals, Faisalabad, Pakistan exposed for a long term to ionizing radiations using micronucles (MN) assay. A comparison between exposed and non-exposed subjects (controlled) of same age exhibited a significant an increase in the number of micronuclei in occupational workers. MN frequency increases with an increase in age and duration of exposure in both sexes but higher in females.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted at the District Head Quarter Hospital (DHQ), Punjab Institute of Nuclear Medicine (PINUM) and Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, Pakistan. The total 145 subjects were selected from these hospitals. The subjects were divided into two groups. The control group (N= 40) (20 males and 20 females) of healthy subjects (no exposure) and the second group of subjects (N=105) (68 males and 37 females) subjects of occupational workers who were indirectly exposed to radiation. Blood samples (2ml) were collected in sodium heparinised vaccutainer tubes through venipuncture from both the groups. Disposable syringes were used for this purpose. For the evaluation of MN yield, slides were prepared by following the method of Jorge et al. (2004).
Results: A significant difference in micro nuclear induction was observed between the occupational subjects and the control subjects and as well as in females and in males (P < 0.01). Females are more vulnerable to ionizing radiation than males. In females, MN yield was two times higher than males. MN frequency was increased with an increase in age and duration of exposure in both sexes, but higher in females and may be due to an increase in chromosomal loss in hospital workers. There is an individual response to the physical noxa, depending on sex, age and exposure. Smoking and drinking habits do not have a significant effect in increasing the number of MN in occupationally exposed workers.
Conclusion: It was concluded that females are more vulnerable to ionizing radiations than males. MN test can be used as a biomarker with a predictive value for the estimation in occupationally exposed subjects.

Key Words: Radiations; Hospital workers; Sex; Micronucleus assay; Chromosomal damage


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eISSN: 0189-6016