DNA fragmentation induced in human fibroblasts by 56Fe ions: Experimental data and monte carlo simulations

A. Campa, D. Alloni, F. Antonelli, F. Ballarini, M. Belli, V. Dini, G. Esposito, A. Facoetti, W. Friedland, Y. Furusawa, M. Liotta, A. Ottolenghi, H. G. Paretzke, G. Simone, E. Sorrentino, M. A. Tabocchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the DNA fragmentation induced in human fibroblasts by iron-ion beams of two different energies: 115 MeV/nucleon and 414 MeV/nucleon. Experimental data were obtained in the fragment size range 15700 kbp; Monte Carlo simulations were performed with the PARTRAC code; data analysis was also performed through the Generalized Broken Stick (GBS) model. The comparison between experimental and simulated data for the number of fragments produced in two different size ranges, 123 kbp and 235700 kbp, gives a satisfactory agreement for both radiation qualities. The Monte Carlo simulations also allow the counting of fragments outside the experimental range: The number of fragments smaller than 1 kbp is large for both beams, although with a strong difference between the two cases. As a consequence, we can compute different RBEs depending on the size range considered for the fragment counting. The PARTRAC evaluation takes into account fragments of all sizes, while the evaluation from the experimental data considers only the fragments in the range of 15700 kbp. When the PARTRAC evaluation is restricted to this range, the agreement between experimental and computed RBE values is again good. When fragments smaller than 1 kbp are also considered, the RBE increases considerably, since γ rays produce a small number of such fragments. The analysis performed with the GBS model proved to be quite sensitive to showing, with a phenomenological single parameter, variations in double-strand break (DSB) correlation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-445
Number of pages8
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biophysics
  • Radiation


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