Heavy ion induced damage to plasmid DNA: plateau region vs. spread out Bragg-peak
KVI University of Groningen, Zernikelaan 25, 9747AA
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Received in final form: 30 March 2011
Published online: 17 June 2011
We have investigated the damage of synthetic plasmid pBR322 DNA in dilute aqueous solutions induced by fast carbon ions. The relative contribution of indirect damage and direct damage to the DNA itself is expected to vary with linear energy transfer along the ion track, with the direct damage contribution increasing towards the Bragg peak. Therefore, 12C ions at the spread-out Bragg peak (dose averaged LET∞ = 189 ± 15 keV/μm) and in the plateau region of the Bragg curve (LET = 40 keV/μm) were employed and the radical scavenger concentration in the plasmid solution was varied to quantify the indirect effect. In order to minimize the influence of 12C break-up fragments, a relatively low initial energy of 90 MeV/nucleon was employed for the carbon ions. DNA damage has been quantified by subsequent electrophoresis on agarose gels. We find that strand breaks due to both indirect and direct effects are systematically higher in the plateau region as compared to the Bragg peak region with the difference being smallest at high scavenging capacities. In view of the fact that the relative biological effectiveness for many biological endpoints is maximum at the Bragg peak our findings imply that DNA damage at the Bragg peak is qualitatively most severe.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag 2011