Imaging Automation in Biodosimetry

Retrospective biological dosimetry employs distinct test procedures, most of which use microscope-based image analysis. With Metafer, MetaSystems offers a platform for automated image analysis for most of these assays1. Analysis with Metafer is done based on standardized, reproducible parameters, thus facilitating interlaboratory studies and international collaboration for radiation protection.

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Micronucleus Assay

The Cytokinesis Block Micronucleus (CBMN) test has long been established as a well validated method in the field of radiation protection. Many see this assay as an equivalent alternative to the chromosome aberration test. The evaluation is less complicated than that of aberrations and therefore offers great potential for full automation. Metafer, MetaSystems' evaluation platform, enables the automatic detection of micronuclei to a degree that eliminates the need for subsequent manual review of results. The standardized data generated in this way can be used in cross-laboratory studies and in international networks for the establishment of global strategies for radiation protection1.

Chromsomal Aberration Assay

Metafer offers many tools for on-screen evaluation of chromosome aberration tests, many of which are considered the gold standard of biodosimetry. The Metaphase Finder generates high-resolution images of metaphases and makes them available for analysis on separate workstations. The software provides many tools for aberration scoring, including customizable evaluation sheets, chromosome counting functionality and a Chi-square calculator. Dicentric chromosomes can be detected fully automatically, making Metafer an ideal tool for triage1.

Comet Assay

The comet assay, probably the most direct method of detecting DNA damage, is based on the detection of DNA fragmentation in irradiated cells. With reproducible evaluation parameters, Metafer frees the processing of this assay from scoring biases1.

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γ-H2AX Foci Assay

The quantification of repair activity in irradiated cells using fluorescently labeled histone foci has contributed much to the understanding of how cells deal with severe radiation damage. The automation of the evaluation with Metafer facilitates standardization of the assay, even when it comes to the detection of colocalized signals1.

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FISH and Multicolor FISH Assays

The FISH-based evaluation of chromosome translocations is an important method of retrospective biodosimetry and especially for long-term monitoring of people exposed to radiation for potential cancer risks. Multicolor FISH (mFISH), Multicolor Chromosome Banding (mBAND) and the use of PNA probes for the detection of dicentric chromosomes complement this portfolio of important test procedures1.