The role of repair in the survival of mammalian cells from heavy ion irradiation: Approximation to the ideal case of target theory

J. T. Lett, A. B. Cox, M. D. Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Theories of cellular radiation sensitivity that preclude a significant role for cellular repair processes in the final biological expression of cellular damage induced by ionizing radiation are unsound. Experiments are discussed here in which the cell-cycle dependency of the repair deficiency of the S/S variant of the L5178Y murine leukemic lymphoblast was examined by treatment with the heavy ions, 20Ne, 28Si, 40Ar, 56Fe and 93Nb. Evidence from those studies, which will be described in detail elsewhere, provide support for the notion that as the linear energy transfer (LET) of the incident radiation increases the ability of the S/S cell to repair radiation damage decreases until effectively it is eliminated around 500 keV/μm. In the region of the latter LET value, the behavior of the S/S cell approximates the ideal case of target theory where post-irradiation metabolism (repair) does not influence cell survival. The expression of this phenomenon among different cell types and tissues will depend upon the actual repair systems involved and other considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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