Low-energy-electron interactions with DNA: approaching cellular conditions with atmospheric experiments*
Group of Radiation Sciences, Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology,
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1H 5N4 Canada
Received in final form: 11 February 2014
Published online: 24 April 2014
A novel technique has been developed to investigate low energy electron (LEE)-DNA interactions in the presence of small biomolecules (e.g., N2, O2, H2O) found near DNA in the cell nucleus, in order to simulate cellular conditions. In this technique, LEEs are emitted from a metallic surface exposed by soft X-rays and interact with DNA thin films at standard ambient temperature and pressure (SATP). Whereas atmospheric N2 had little effect on the yields of LEE-induced single and double strand breaks, both O2 and H2O considerably modified and increased such damage. The highest yields were obtained when DNA is embedded in a combined O2 and H2O atmosphere. In this case, the amount of additional double strand breaks was supper-additive. The effect of modifying the chemical and physical stability of DNA by platinum-based chemotherapeutic agents (Pt-drugs) including cisplatin, carboplatin and oxaliplatin was also investigated with this technique. The results obtained provide information on the role played by subexcitation-energy electrons and dissociative electron attachment in the radiosensitization of DNA by Pt-drugs, which is an important step to unravel the mechanisms of radiosensitisation of these agents in chemoradiation cancer therapy.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2014