The exact nature of the biochemical and biologic effects of roentgen irradiation on living tissue is not clearly understood. Aside from the difficulties imposed by the limitation of knowledge of the chemistry and physics of the cell, there is the added problem that the cells react to the rays in the body in a manner different from the way they react in vitro. It was discovered, for example, as far back as 1907 that the lethal dose for the individual cells was much lower in vivo. "In a general way one can say that x-rays are incapable of producing a marked action on cells or tissues removed from the organism," said Bordier.1 The various theories propounded to explain the mode of action of irradiation on cells were discussed in MacKee's textbook.2
Although their nature has not yet been elucidated, the effects of roentgen irradiation have been accurately described.
KLINE PR, GAHAN E. UNILATERAL ROENTGEN IRRADIATION IN THE TREATMENT OF ACNE VULGARIS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1942;46(2):207–210. doi:10.1001/archderm.1942.01500140023003
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