Metaphase Cells Enrichment for Efficient Use in the Dicentric Chromosome Assay

Max Platkov, Uzi Hadad, Ariela Burg, Inna Levitsky, Michael Zagatzki, Omer Damri, Aryeh Weiss, Yair Lauber, Shirly Amar, Lior Carmel, Raphael Gonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dicentric chromosome assay (DCA), is considered the ‘gold standard’ for radiation biodosimetry. Yet, DCA, as currently implemented, may be impractical for emergency response applications, especially when time is of the essence, owing to its labor-intensive and time-consuming nature. The growth of a primary lymphocyte culture for 48 h in vitro is required for DCA, and manual scoring of dicentric chromosomes (DCs) requires an additional 24–48 h, resulting in an overall processing time of 72–96 h for dose estimation. In order to improve this timing. we introduce a protocol that will detect the metaphase cells in a population of cells, and then will harvest only those metaphase cells. Our metaphase enrichment approach is based on fixed human lymphocytes incubated with monoclonal, anti-phosphorylated H3 histone (ser 10). Antibodies against this histone have been shown to be specific for mitotic cells. Colcemid is used to arrest the mitotic cells in metaphase. Following that, a flow-cytometric sorting apparatus isolates the mitotic fraction from a large population of cells, in a few minutes. These mitotic cells are then spread onto a slide and treated with our C-Banding procedure [Gonen et al. 2022], to visualize the centromeres with DAPI. This reduces the chemical processing time to ~2 h. This reduces the time required for the DCA and makes it practical for a much wider set of applications, such as emergency response following exposure of a large population to ionizing radiation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)647-656
Number of pages10
JournalCell Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • DAPI
  • Dicentrics
  • Flow cytometry
  • Metaphase enrichment

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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