Inhaled short-lived radon progenies may deposit in bronchial airways and interact with the epithelium by the emission of alpha particles. Simulation of the related radiobiological effects requires the knowledge of space and time distributions of alpha particle hits and biological endpoints. Present modelling efforts include simulation of radioaerosol deposition patterns in a central bronchial airway bifurcation, modelling of human bronchial epithelium, generation of alpha particle tracks, and computation of spatio-temporal distributions of cell nucleus hits, cell killing and cell transformation events. Simulation results indicate that the preferential radionuclide deposition at carinal ridges plays an important role in the space and time evolution of the biological events. While multiple hits are generally rare for low cumulative exposures, their probability may be quite high at the carinal ridges of the airway bifurcations. Likewise, cell killing and transformation events also occur with higher probability in this area. In the case of uniform surface activities, successive hits as well as cell killing and transformation events within a restricted area (say 0.5 mm 2 ) are well separated in time. However, in the case of realistic inhomogeneous deposition, they occur more frequently within the mean cycle time of cells located at the carinal ridge even at low cumulative doses. The site-specificity of radionuclide deposition impacts not only on direct, but also on non-targeted radiobiological effects due to intercellular communication. Incorporation of present results into mechanistic models of carcinogenesis may provide useful information concerning the dose-effect relationship in the low-dose range.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)