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September 1952


Author Affiliations

With the Technical Assistance of Carmen M. Munoz NEW YORK
From the Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Institute of Ophthalmology, Presbyterian Hospital.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1952;48(3):276-291. doi:10.1001/archopht.1952.00920010284002

ACCORDING to the target theory, significant radiobiological effects are produced solely by direct hits of single ionizing particles upon sensitive parts of irradiated cells. During the past 10 years, however, studies on the effect of x-rays on aqueous solutions of various chemical substances have indicated that indirect biochemical mechanisms mediate at least some of the actions of ionizing radiations. Of these biochemical processes, the production of active radicals by the ionization of water is best understood and is believed to be of first importance, although such other possibilities as the shifting of the redox potential of critical areas and the depression of metabolic processes by irradiation have been suggested. In vitro investigations on solutions of highly polymerized desoxyribonucleic acid1 and on sulfhydryl enzymes2 have shown clearly that the effectiveness of the radiation is decreased in the presence of other solutes, i. e., that chemical agents can protect irradiated

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