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Proceedings Paper

Quantitative investigation of the bioeffects associated with terahertz radiation
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Paper Abstract

The biological effects associated with Terahertz (THz) radiation are not well characterized. In this study, we investigated the cellular response of human dermal fibroblasts exposed to an optically-pumped molecular gas THz laser (υ = 2.52 THz, irradiance = 84.8 mW/cm2, exposure duration = 5 to 80 minutes). Computational dosimetry was conducted using finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) modeling techniques. Empirical dosimetry was conducted using infrared cameras and thermocouples. Cellular viability was assessed 24 h post-exposure using MTT calorimetric assays. Quantitative PCR was performed 4 h post-exposure to evaluate the transcriptional activation of genes involved in protein and DNA damage pathways. Comparable analyses were also performed for hyperthermic and genotoxic positive control samples. For all of the exposure durations tested, we found that greater than 95% of the cells were viable post-exposure. In addition, the exposed cells showed only minor increases (~3.5-fold) in heat shock protein expression. The empirical dosimetric data showed that the temperature of the cells increased by ~3 °C during exposure. This value was consistent with that predicted by the computational models. Interestingly, although the THz-exposed cells exhibited increases in heat shock protein expression, the magnitude of these increases was comparable to those observed in hyperthermic controls. In addition, none of the DNA repair genes tested were up-regulated in the THz-exposed cells, whereas 40-fold increases were observed in the genotoxic control cells. These results suggest that the biological effects imposed by THz radiation appear to be primarily photothermal in nature.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 February 2010
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7562, Optical Interactions with Tissues and Cells XXI, 75620L (22 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.844916
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald J. Wilmink, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
National Academy of Sciences NRC Research Associateship (United States)
Benjamin D. Rivest, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Bennett L. Ibey, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Caleb L. Roth, General Dynamics AIS, Inc. (United States)
Joshua Bernhard, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
William P. Roach, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7562:
Optical Interactions with Tissues and Cells XXI
E. Duco Jansen; Robert J. Thomas, Editor(s)

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