[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-destructive analytical techniques are becoming increasingly important for the study of objects of cultural heritage interest. This study applied two techniques: X-ray fluorescence and neutron radiography, for the investigation of a capped, tubular metal object recovered from an urban construction site in Gore Park, Hamilton, Canada. The site is an urban park containing a World War I commemorative monument that underwent renovation and relocation. Historical documentation suggested that the object buried underneath the monument was a time capsule containing a paper document listing the names of 1800 Canadians who died during WWI. The purpose of this study was to assess the condition of the object, and to verify if it was what the historical records purported. XRF analysis was used to characterize the elemental composition of the metal artifact, while neutron radiography revealed that its contents were congruent with historical records and remained intact after being interred for 91 years. Results of this study demonstrate the value of non-destructive techniques for the analysis and preservation of cultural heritage.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, in vivo measurement systems of arsenic in skin by K-shell x-ray fluorescence (XRF) have been developed, including one which was applied in a pilot study of human subjects. Improved tube-based approaches suggest the method can be further exploited for in vivo studies. Recently, it has been suggested that selenium deficiency is correlated with arsenic toxicity. A non-invasive measurement of both elements could therefore be of potential interest. The main aim of this current study was to evaluate and compare the performance of an upgraded portable XRF system and an advanced version of the benchtop XRF system for both selenium and arsenic. This evaluation was performed in terms of arsenic and selenium Kα detection limits for a 4W gold anode Olympus InnovX Delta portable analyzer (40 kVp) in polyester resin skin-mimicking phantoms. Unlike the polychromatic source earlier reported in the literature, the benchtop tube-based technique involves monochromatic excitation (25 W silver anode, manufactured by x-ray optics, XOS) and a higher throughput detector type. Use of a single exciting energy allows for a lower in vivo dose delivered and superior signal-noise ratio. For the portable XRF method, arsenic and selenium minimum detection limits (MDLs) of 0.59 ± 0.03 ppm and 0.75 ± 0.02 ppm respectively were found for 1 min measurement times. The MDLs for arsenic and selenium using the benchtop system were found to be 0.35 ± 0.01 ppm and 0.670 ± 0.004 ppm respectively for 30 min measurement times. In terms of a figure of merit (FOM), allowing for dose as well as MDL, the benchtop system was found to be superior for arsenic and the two systems were equivalent, within error, for selenium. We shall discuss the performance and possible improvements of each system, their ease of use and potential for field application.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Physiological Measurement
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Canadian population is currently subject to low, chronic lead exposure and an understanding of its effects is of great significance to the population's health. Such low exposure is difficult to measure directly; approximation by physiologically based modeling may provide a preferable approach to population analysis. The O'Flaherty model of lead kinetics is based on an age-dependent approach to human growth and development and devotes special attention to bone turnover rates. Because lead is a bone-seeking element, the model was deemed ideal for such an analysis. Sample from 263 individuals of various ages from the Greater Toronto Area were selected to evaluate the applicability of the current version of the O'Flaherty model to populations with low lead exposure. For each individual, the input value of lead exposure was calibrated to match the output value of cortical bone lead to the individual's measured tibia lead concentration; the outputs for trabecular bone, blood, and plasma lead concentrations obtained from these calibrations were then compared with the subjects' measured calcaneus, blood, and serum lead concentrations, respectively. This indicated a need for revision of the model parameters; those for lead binding in blood and lead clearance from blood to bone were adjusted and new outputs were obtained in the same fashion as before. Model predictions of trabecular lead concentration did not agree with measurements in the calcaneus. The outputs for blood and plasma lead concentrations were highly scattered and, on an individual level, inconsistent with corresponding measurements; however, the general trends of the outputs matched those of the measurements reasonably well, which indicates that the revised blood lead binding and lead clearance parameters may be useful in future studies. Overall, the analysis showed that with the revisions to the model discussed here, the model should be a useful tool in the analysis of human lead kinetics and body burden in populations characterized by low, chronic exposure to lead from the general environment.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Building on previous simulation and experimental work on in vivo detection of gadolinium via PGNAA, we extend this work to incorporate the detection of samarium. Samarium, like gadolinium is a rare earth metal with an enormous cross section for neutron capture. The ab initio Monte-Carlo model agrees with experiment to within 2%. There is a wide discrepancy in the gamma emission probabilities for the 149Sm neutron capture reaction. Decision on the best agreement between simulation and experiment was compounded by a noticed loss in semiconductor detector efficiency due to prolonged neutron damage. We discuss some mechanisms for this loss and reason that the IAEA PGAA database has the most accurate Sm data. We also compare the energy dependence of neutron capture for the non-1/v absorbers, 149Sm and 157Gd, using the 238Pu/Be source. The initial in vivo detection limit for Sm in a shallow kidney or the human hand bones was found to be 5.5 parts per million (ppm; μg g-1). This work has applications to determining the feasibility of neutron activated imaging or for measuring the residual Sm concentration from medical, environmental, occupational, or accidental exposure.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The feasibility of using a 238Pu/Be-based in vivo prompt γ-ray neutron activation analysis (IVNAA) system, previously successfully used for measurements of muscle, for the detection of gadolinium (Gd) in bone was presented. Gd is extensively used in contrast agents in MR imaging. We present phantom measurement data for the measurement of Gd in the tibia. Gd has seven naturally occurring isotopes, of which two have extremely large neutron capture cross sections; 155Gd (14.8% natural abundance (NA), σ=60900 barns) and 157Gd (15.65% NA, σ= 254000 barns). Our previous work focused on muscle but this only informs about the short term kinetics of Gd. We studied the possibility of measuring bone, as it may be a long term storage site for Gd. A human simulating bone phantom set was developed. The phantoms were doped with seven concentrations of Gd of concentrations 0.0, 25, 50, 75, 100, 120 and 150 ppm. Additional elements important for neutron activation analysis, Na, Cl and Ca, were also included to create an overall elemental composition consistent with Reference Man. The overall conclusion is that the potential application of this Pu-Be-based prompt in vivo NAA for the monitoring of the storage and retention of Gd in bone is not feasible.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Radiation Physics and Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The luminescence intensity of [Formula: see text] nm photons emitted from HaCaT (human keratinocyte) cells was investigated using a single-photon-counting system during cellular exposure to (90)Y β-particles. Multiple factors were assessed to determine their influence upon the quantity and pattern of photon emission from β-irradiated cells. Exposure of [Formula: see text] cells/5 mL to 703 μCi resulted in maximum UVA photoemission at [Formula: see text] counts per second (cps) from live HaCaT cells (background: 1-5 cps); a 16-fold increase above cell-free controls. Significant biophoton emission was achieved only upon stimulation and was also dependent upon presence of cells. UVA luminescence was measured for (90)Y activities 14 to 703 μCi where a positive relationship between photoemission and (90)Y activity was observed. Irradiation of live HaCaT cells plated at various densities produced a distinct pattern of emission whereby luminescence increased up to a maximum at [Formula: see text] cells/5 mL and thereafter decreased. However, this result was not observed in the dead cell population. Both live and dead HaCaT cells were irradiated and were found to demonstrate different rates of photon emission at low β activities (⩽400 μCi). Dead cells exhibited greater photon emission rates than live cells which may be attributable to metabolic processes taking place to modulate the photoemissive effect. The results indicate that photon emission from HaCaT cells is perturbed by external stimulation, is dependent upon the activity of radiation delivered, the density of irradiated cells, and cell viability. It is postulated that biophoton emission may be modulated by a biological or metabolic process.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Physics in Medicine and Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous research has shown that beta radiation can induce ultraviolet (UV) photon emission in human keratinocyte cells. Spectral analysis using a filter-based method in the ultraviolet range demonstrated that the strongest externally measureable photon emission was induced by beta radiation in the UVA range. In the current study, the potential biological implications of this UV photon emission from beta-irradiated cells were investigated. HaCaT human keratinocyte cells were irradiated with tritium ((3)H) and the photon emission induced was concurrently measured at the strongest externally measurable wavelength, 340 ± 5 nm, using a combination filter-photomultiplier tube system. Unirradiated reporter HaCaT cell cultures were also placed directly above (3)H-irradiated cells so that they would receive the induced secondary photons emitted from beta-irradiated cells, and the clonogenic survival in reporter cells was then assessed. Maximum photon emission (1207.04 ± 107.65 counts per second) was observed during irradiation of 2,000 cells/cm(2) with (3)H and the maximum reporter cell death (23.2 ± 0.9% reduction in survival) was observed under the same conditions. The measured photon emission from beta-irradiated cells and reporter cell death were strongly correlated (r = 0.977, P < 0.01). Placement of a polyethylene terephthalate filter, designed to eliminate >90% of UV wavelengths below 390 nm, between the directly irradiated and reporter cell layers was effective in nearly abolishing both 340 nm photon detection and reporter cell death in treated groups. Concurrent treatment of reporter cells with lomefloxacin during exposure to the secondary photons resulted in significantly increased cell killing, indicating a potential synergistic effect, while melanin treatment resulted in decreased reporter cell killing regardless of irradiation. These results suggest that secondary photons in the UV spectral range induced by beta irradiation play a role in inducing a response in neighboring non-beta-irradiated reporter cells.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Radiation Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Routine tissue sample preparation using chemical fixatives is known to preserve the morphology of the tissue being studied. A competitive method, cryofixation followed by freeze drying, involves no chemical agents and maintains the biological function of the tissue. The possible effects of both sample preparation techniques in terms of the distribution of bio-metals (calcium (Ca), copper (Cu) zinc (Zn), and iron (Fe) specifically) in human skin tissue samples was investigated. Micro synchrotron radiation x-ray fluorescence (μSRXRF) was used to map bio-metal distribution in epidermal and dermal layers of human skin samples from various locations of the body that have been prepared using both techniques. For Ca, Cu and Zn, there were statistically significant differences between the epidermis and dermis using the freeze drying technique (p = 0.02, p < 0.01, and p < 0.01, respectively). Also using the formalin fixed, paraffin embedded technique the levels of Ca, Cu and Zn, were significantly different between the epidermis and dermis layers (p = 0.03, p < 0.01, and p < 0.01, respectively). However, the difference in levels of Fe between the epidermis and dermis was unclear and further analysis was required. The epidermis was further divided into two sub-layers, one mainly composed of the stratum corneum and the other deeper layer, the stratum basale. It was found that the difference between the distribution of Fe in the two epidermal layers using the freeze drying technique resulted in a statistically significant difference (p = 0.012). This same region also showed a difference in Fe using the formalin fixed, paraffin embedded technique (p < 0.01). The formalin fixed, paraffin embedded technique also showed a difference between the deeper epidermal layer and the dermis (p < 0.01). It can be concluded that studies involving Ca, Cu and Zn might show similar results using both sample preparation techniques, however studies involving Fe would need more special attention.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Physiological Measurement
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-invasive in vivo neutron activation analysis (NAA) was used to measure the fluorine concentration in 35 people in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Measurement and precision data of this second generation NAA system were determined in 2013, and the results were compared with the performance of a first generation system used in a pilot study of 33 participants from the Hamilton area in 2008. Improvements in precision in line with those predicted by phantom studies were observed, but the use of fewer technicians during measurement seemed adversely to affect performance. We compared the levels of fluorine observed in people between the two studies and found them to be comparable. The average fluorine concentration in bone was found to be 3 ± 0.3 mg and 3.5 ± 0.4 mg F/g Ca for 2013 and 2008 measurements respectively.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Physiological Measurement
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The feasibility of using a 109Cd γ-ray induced K x-ray fluorescence (K-XRF) system for the in vivo detection of gadolinium (Gd) in bone has been investigated. The K-XRF bone measurement system employs an array of four detectors, and is normally used for the non-invasive study of bone lead levels. The system was used to measure bone simulating phantoms doped with varying levels of gadolinium and fixed amounts of sodium (Na), chlorine (Cl) and calcium (Ca). The detection limits for bare bone phantoms, using a source of activity 0.17 GBq, were determined to be 3.9 ppm and 6.5 ppm (µg Gd per gram phantom) for the Kα 1 and Kα 2 Gd x-ray peaks, respectively. This leads to an overall detection limit of 3.3 ppm (µg Gd per gram phantom). Layers of plastic were used to simulate overlying soft tissue and this permitted prediction of a detection limit, using the current strength of our radioisotope source, of 6.1 ppm to 8.6 ppm (µg Gd per gram phantom) for fingers with 2–4 mm of overlying tissue. With a new source of activity 5 GBq, we predict that this system could achieve a detection limit of 4–5.6 µg Gd g−1 Ca. This is within the range of levels (2–30 µg Gd g−1 Ca) previously found in the bone of patients receiving Gd based contrast imaging agents. The technique is promising and warrants further investigation.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Physiological Measurement
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have tested the Monte Carlo code FLUKA for its ability to assist in the development of a better system for the in vivo measurement of fluorine. We used it to create a neutron flux map of the inside of the in vivo neutron activation analysis irradiation cavity at the McMaster Accelerator Laboratory. The cavity is used in a system that has been developed for assessment of fluorine levels in the human hand. This study was undertaken to (i) assess the FLUKA code, (ii) find the optimal hand position inside the cavity and assess the effects on precision of a hand being in a non-optimal position and (iii) to determine the best location for our γ-ray detection system within the accelerator beam hall.Simulation estimates were performed using FLUKA. Experimental measurements of the neutron flux were performed using Mn wires. The activation of the wires was measured inside (1) an empty bottle, (2) a bottle containing water, (3) a bottle covered with cadmium and (4) a dry powder-based fluorine phantom. FLUKA was used to simulate the irradiation cavity, and used to estimate the neutron flux in different positions both inside, and external to, the cavity. The experimental results were found to be consistent with the Monte Carlo simulated neutron flux. Both experiment and simulation showed that there is an optimal position in the cavity, but that the effect on the thermal flux of a hand being in a non-optimal position is less than 20%, which will result in a less than 10% effect on the measurement precision. FLUKA appears to be a code that can be useful for modeling of this type of experimental system.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 109Cd K X-ray fluorescence (KXRF) measurement system consisting of four detectors in clover-leaf geometry is a non-invasive, low-radiation-dose method of measuring bone lead concentration. Its high precision in estimating the bone lead content makes it a promising tool for the determination of the low levels of lead currently found in the general population. After developing the clover-leaf geometry system, the system was used for the first time in a major survey in 2008 to measure the lead levels of 497 smelter employees (an occupationally exposed group with high lead levels). Since the delivered effective dose of the bone lead system in clover-leaf geometry is small (on the order of nSv), the technique can be used to measure the bone lead of sensitive populations such as the elderly and children. This detector system was used from 2009 to 2011, in a pilot study that measured the bone lead concentration of 263 environmentally exposed individuals (termed the EG group) residing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In this paper, the factors that influence uncertainties in lead content in tibia (cortical bone) and calcaneus (trabecular bone) are discussed based on gender, age, and body mass index (BMI) by using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple linear regression models. Results from the two study groups (the EG group versus the occupationally exposed smelter employees) are compared where appropriate (i.e. for males older than 20). Results from univariate analyses showed that females have higher tibia uncertainty compared to males. We observed significant differences for both calcaneus and tibia uncertainty measures (p < 0.0005) among different age groups, where the uncertainties were highest in the lowest age group (<11 years). Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, we found that the product of source activity and measurement time influenced the precision of measurements greatly, and that this factor alone could account for the higher uncertainties observed for the male cohort of the EG group versus the smelter employees.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gadolinium (Gd) based contrast agents are routinely used as part of many magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures. The widespread use of these agents and concerns about Gd toxicity, motivated us to develop a monitoring procedure that could non-invasively measure quantitatively potential retention of toxic free Gd in tissues after use of the agent. We have been developing a method to measure Gd painlessly and non-invasively by prompt gamma neutron activation analysis. In this paper we present the results of a pilot study where we show that we can measure Gd, quantitatively in vivo, in the lower leg muscle of 10 participants. A series of three neutron leg scans were performed. The effective radiation dose for a single neutron leg scan was very low, 0.6 µSv, so multiple scans were possible. Calibration phantom and in vivo detection limits were determined to be identical: 0.58 ppm. Gd was not detectable in muscle prior to exposure to the contrast agent Gadovist®. Gd was detected, at greater than 99% confidence, in 9 participants within 1 h of contrast administration and in 1 participant approximately 3.3 h post-contrast administration. The measured concentrations of Gd ranged from 2.0 to 17.3 ppm (6.9 to 56 uncertainties different from zero). No detectable Gd was measured in any participant in the third neutron scan (conducted 0.7 to 5.9 d post-contrast). The results of this study validate our new measurement technology. This technique could be used as a non-invasive monitoring procedure for exposure and retention of Gd from Gd-based chelates used in MRI.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Physiological Measurement
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The feasibility of using a238Pu/Be-based in vivo prompt γ-ray neutron activation analysis (IVNAA) system, previously successfully used for measurements of muscle, for the detection of gadolinium (Gd) in bone was presented. Gd is extensively used in contrast agents in MR imaging. We present phantom measurement data for the measurement of Gd in the tibia. Gd has seven naturally occurring isotopes, of which two have extremely large neutron capture cross sections; 155Gd (14.8% natural abundance (NA), σ=60900 barns) and 157Gd (15.65% NA, σ= 254000 barns). Our previous work focused on muscle but this only informs about the short term kinetics of Gd. We studied the possibility of measuring bone, as it may be a long term storage site for Gd. A human simulating bone phantom set was developed. The phantoms were doped with seven concentrations of Gd of concentrations 0.0, 25, 50, 75, 100, 120 and 150 ppm. Additional elements important for neutron activation analysis, Na, Cl and Ca, were also included to create an overall elemental composition consistent with Reference Man. The overall conclusion is that the potential application of this Pu-Be-based prompt in vivo NAA for the monitoring of the storage and retention of Gd in bone is not feasible.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The overwhelming proportion of the mass of lead (Pb) is stored in bone and the residence time of Pb in bone is much longer than that in other tissues. Hence, in a metabolic model that we used to solve the differential equations governing the transfer of lead between body compartments, three main compartments are involved: blood (as a transfer compartment), cortical bone (tibia), and trabecular bone (calcaneus). There is a bidirectional connection between blood and the other two compartments. A grid search chi-squared minimization method was used to estimate the initial values of lead transfer rate values from tibia (λTB) and calcaneus (λCB) to blood of 209 smelter employees whose bone lead measurements are available from 1994, 1999, and 2008, and their blood lead level from 1967 onwards (depending on exposure history from once per month to once per year), and then the initial values of kinematic parameters were used to develop multivariate models in order to express λTB and λCB as a function of employment time, age, body lead contents and their interaction. We observed a significant decrease in the transfer rate of lead from bone to blood with increasing body lead contents. The model was tested by calculating the bone lead concentration in 1999 and 2008, and by comparing those values with the measured ones. A good agreement was found between the calculated and measured tibia/calcaneus lead values. Also, we found that the transfer rate of lead from tibia to blood can be expressed solely as a function of cumulative blood lead index.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In radiation biology experiments often cells are irradiated using charged particles with the intention that only a specified number of cells are hit by the primary ion track. However, in doing so several other materials such as the cell container and the growth media etc. are also irradiated, and UV radiation emitted from these materials can potentially interact with the cells. We have hypothesized that some “bystander effects” that are thought to be chemically mediated, may be, in fact, a physical effect, where UV is interacting with non-targeted cells.
Based upon our hypothesis we quantified the emission of UV from Polypropylene, Mylar, Teflon, and Cellophane which are all commonly used materials in radiation biology experiments. Additionally we measured the NIST standard materials of Oyster tissue and Citrus leaves as these powdered materials are derived from living cells. Protons accelerated up to an energy of 2.2 MeV, in a 3 MV Van de Graff accelerator, were used for irradiation. Beam current was kept to 10 nA, which corresponds to a proton fluence rate of 2.7 × 1010 protons mm−2 s−1. All the materials were found to emit light at UV frequencies and intensities that were significant enough to conduct a further investigation for their biological consequences. Mylar and polypropylene are commonly used in radiation induced bystander effect studies and are considered to be non-fluorescent. However our study showed that this is not the case. Significant luminescence observed from the irradiated NIST standard reference materials for Oyster tissue and Citrus leaves verified that the luminescence emission is not restricted only to the polymeric materials that are used to contain cells. It can also occur from ion interactions within the cells as well.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drinking water aquifers in many areas of the world have naturally elevated levels of inorganic arsenic exceeding the World Health Organization limit. Arsenic concentrations in human nail clippings are commonly used as a biomarker of exposure to this toxic element. However, the chemical form of arsenic accumulated in nail tissues is not well determined. We employed synchrotron microprobe and bulk X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques to analyse the concentration and chemical speciation of arsenic in the finger-and toenail clippings of volunteers living in the vicinity of Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. This area is known to have low-to-moderately elevated levels of arsenic in ground water. Arsenic species in clippings were represented by three main groups, distinguished by the As-K near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectra: (1) As-III type, which can be fitted as a mixture of As bound to thiols, and also to oxygen or methyl groups, with a small contribution from As-V species, (2) As-V type, best represented by fitting arsenate in aqueous solution and (3) The As-III + As-V mixture type. The high proportion (%) of sulfur-bound arsenic species most likely corresponds to binding between arsenic (in its trivalent and, to a lesser extent, pentavalent forms) and cysteine residues in the sulfur-rich fraction of keratin and keratin-associated proteins. Further work is needed to explore whether these chemical species could be used as toxicity biomarkers of human exposure to elevated levels of As in drinking water.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Environmental Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ochre is a red mineral pigment that was a key element of social and ceremonial practices among cultures of the Pacific Northwest Coast. It is recovered routinely from archaeological excavations, is visible as pigment for pictographs, and is described in the historical record as a trade item and component of ceremonial practices. Despite its ubiquity in the archaeological record, it is difficult to interpret its significance without first understanding the nature of its procurement and distribution. As a step towards identifying procurement practices, trade and resource use, it is necessary to thoroughly characterize ochre outcrops with regard to their intra-source and regional variability. We analysed ochre from three outcrops using INAA to determine their elemental chemistry. The purpose of this study is threefold: to provide an example of the range of elemental variability within and between outcrops, to illustrate the effect of scale and geomorphological processes on elemental compositions and statistical interpretation, and to create a database of known deposits in southern British Columbia. The results demonstrate that ochre deposits may be differentiated on the basis of their chemistry, and that conservative statistical interpretation needs to be employed to assess true elemental variability within and between ochre deposits and regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we aimed to establish the emission of UV photons when HPV-G cells and associated materials (such as the cell substrate and cell growth media) are exposed to low LET radiation. The potential role of UV photons in the secondary triggering of biological processes led us to hypothesize that the emission and absorption of photons at this wavelength explain some radiation induced "bystander effects" that have previously been thought to be chemically mediated. Cells were plated in Petri-dishes of two different sizes, having different thicknesses of polystyrene (PS) substrate, and were exposed to β-radiation from (90)Y produced by the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. UV measurements were performed using a single photon counting system employing an interference-type filter for selection of a narrow wavelength range, 340±5 nm, of photons. Exposure of the cell substrates (which were made of polystyrene) determined that UV photons were being emitted as a consequence of β particle irradiation of the Petri-dishes. For a tightly collimated β-particle beam exposure, we observed 167 photons in the detector per unit μCi in the shielded source for a 1.76 mm thick substrate and 158 photons/μCi for a 0.878 mm thick substrate. A unit μCi source activity was equivalent to an exposure to the substrate of 18 β-particles/cm(2) in this case. The presence of cells and medium in a Petri-dish was found to significantly increase (up to a maximum of 250%) the measured number of photons in a narrow band of wavelengths of 340±5 nm (i.e. UVA) as compared to the signal from an empty control Petri-dish. When coloured growth medium was added to the cells, it reduced the measured count rate, while the addition of transparent medium in equal volume increased the count rate, compared to cells alone. We attribute this to the fact that emission, scattering and absorption of light by cells and media are all variables in the experiment. Under collimated irradiation conditions, it was observed that increasing cell density in medium of fixed volume resulted in a decrease in the observed light output. This followed a roughly exponential decline. We suggest that this may be due to increased scattering at the cell boundary and absorption of the UV in the cells. We conclude that we have measured UVA emitted by cells, cell medium and cell substrates as a consequence of their irradiation by low LET β-particle radiation. We suggest that these secondary UV photons could lead to effects in non-targetted cells. Some effects that had previously been attributed to a chemically mediated "bystander effect" may in fact be due to secondary UV emission. Some radiation bystander effect studies may require re-interpretation as this phenomenon of UV emission is further investigated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously published a method for the in vivo measurement of bone fluoride using neutron activation analysis (NAA) and demonstrated the utility of the technique in a pilot study of environmentally exposed people. The method involved activation of the hand in an irradiation cavity at the McMaster University Accelerator Laboratory and acquisition of the resultant γ-ray signals in a '4π' NaI(Tl) detector array of nine detectors. In this paper we describe a series of improvements to the method. This was investigated via measurement of hand simulating phantoms doped with varying levels of fluorine and fixed amounts of sodium, chlorine and calcium. Four improvements to the technique were tested since our first publication. The previously published detection limit for phantom measurements using this system was 0.66 mg F/g Ca. The accelerator irradiation and detection facilities were relocated to a new section of the laboratory and one more detector was added to the detection system. This was found to reduce the detection limit (possibly because of better detection shielding and additional detector) to 0.59 mg F/g Ca, a factor of 1.12. A new set of phantoms was developed and in this work we show that they improved the minimum detectable limit for fluoride in phantoms irradiated using neutrons produced by 2.15 MeV protons on lithium by a factor of 1.55. We compared the detection limits previously obtained using a summed signal from the nine detectors with the detection limit obtained by acquiring the spectra in anticoincidence mode for reduction of the disturbing signal from chlorine in bone. This was found to improve the ratio of the detection of fluorine to chlorine (an interfering signal) by a factor of 2.8 and the resultant minimum detection limit was found to be reduced by a factor of 1.2. We studied the effects of changing the timing of γ-ray acquisition. Our previously published data used a series of three 10 s acquisitions followed by a 300 s count. Changing the acquisition to a series of six 5 s acquisitions was found to further improve the detection limit by a factor of 1.4. We also present data showing that if the neutron dose is delivered to the phantom in a shorter time period, i.e. the dose rate is increased and irradiation shortened then the detection limit can be reduced by a further factor of 1.35.The overall improvement in detection limit by employing all of these changes was found to be a factor of 3.9. The technique now has an in phantom detection limit of 0.17 mg F/g Ca compared to a previous detection limit of 0.66 mg F/g Ca. The system can now be tested on human volunteers to see if individuals with diagnosed fluorosis can be distinguished from the general Canadian population using this technique.