Using the G-banding technique, we examined lymphocytes from 90 individuals (43 males and 47 females, median age 31 years) living in buildings constructed with radioactively contaminated rebars. Forty-five nonexposed control subjects (22 males and 23 females, median age 30 years), matched to the radiation-exposed individuals by sex and age, were selected for comparison. At least 500 metaphases were checked for each individual. All recognizable structural aberrations of chromosomes or chromatids were recorded. After adjusting for age and smoking status, both the percentage of cells with aberrant chromosomes (PCAC) and the number of aberrant chromosomes per 100 cells (NAC) were found to be significantly higher in the radiation-exposed females than in the control females (p < 0.05 for PCAC and NAC). This difference, however, was not observed in the comparison of radiation-exposed and control males. This suggests a possible interaction between sex and radiation exposure in their effects on chromosome aberrations.

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