Propagation of induced biological effects from irradiated to non-irradiated cells is known to occur in cell cultures exposed to low fluences of charged particles. These bystander effects are currently investigated using microbeam or non-microbeam (broad beams) irradiation techniques. Identification of the targeted and non-targeted bystander cells is critical to our understanding of mechanisms underlying such effects. We developed a novel cell culture dish where the base consists of a thin CR-39 sheet grafted on a thin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foil. The validity of this device in identifying not only irradiated cells, but also the cellular compartment traversed by the particle track is described. We have optimized track etch parameters that do not interfere with measurement of induced biological endpoints under normal incident irradiation. Thus the culture dishes can be used to determine distance distributions for the propagation of induced biological effects from a hit cell to bystander cells. We describe the computer code developed to determine the distance distributions of propagated biological stress responses in normal human fibroblast cells exposed to very low fluences of alpha particles.
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