Study shows protective cells reduce lung cancer risk in ex-smokers
The damaging effect of very high-energy radiation on human tissue is well-known from disasters such as the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima. However, the long-term effects experienced by survivors of such disasters, including an increased risk of cancer, are partly caused by the impact of rather lower-energy radiation. The groups chose to study the effect of electron impact on amino acids because they are less widely studied in this context than DNA.
Snegursky and his colleagues used mass spectrometry to measure the mass-to-charge ratio and thus determine the nature of chemical fragments produced when one biologically important amino acid, glutamine, was bombarded with uniform electron beams with different radiation doses. Meanwhile, the theoretical team modeled the electronic and geometric structures of glutamine and its fragments using quantum mechanics. The observed fragmentation patterns differed according to the radiation dose that the molecules received, and the experimental results were largely borne out by the simulations. The study authors believe that this basic research will have implications for understanding the effect of ionizing radiation on human cells, improving the selectivity of radiotherapy beams for cancer cells, and even, perhaps, understanding the origin of life. Source:
Springer Journal reference:
Tamuliene, J., et al. (2020) High-energy ionizing radiation influence on the fragmentation of glutamine. European Physical Journal . doi.org/10.1140/epjd/e2019-100523-7 .
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