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Medical News
October 19, 1964

Cell Structure, Metabolism Altered By Radiation to Cellular Membranes

JAMA. 1964;190(3):35-36. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070160093044

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The manner in which a cell is prepared for study often makes a difference in what an investigator sees under the microscope.

A Mayo Clinic physician has found that, by supravitally staining intact malignant cells, he can discern heretofore unproved causes of cell death due to radiation changes in both the outer and inner membranes of the cell. This work supports the enzyme-release hypothesis of cellular damage due to radiation. It is well established that desoxyribonucleic acid and replicating ribonucleic acid are affected by irradiation.

Paul W. Scanlon, MD, Rochester, Minn, said that the changes caused by radiation include interruption in the integrity of the outer limiting membranes and those of the cytoplasmic vesicles and nuclear structures. Scanlon suggested that in the process of ordinary fixation and staining, these subtle plasma-membrane changes are destroyed and are not apparent.

Using the light microscope and staining the cells with a combination of

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