RENEB intercomparison exercises analyzing micronuclei (Cytokinesis-block Micronucleus Assay).
In the framework of the 'Realizing the European Network of Biodosimetry' (RENEB) project, two intercomparison exercises were conducted to assess the suitability of an optimized version of the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay, and to evaluate the capacity of a large laboratory network performing biodosimetry for radiation emergency triages. Twelve European institutions participated in the first exercise, and four non-RENEB labs were added in the second one. Irradiated blood samples were shipped to participating labs, whose task was to culture these samples and provide a blind dose estimate. Micronucleus analysis was performed by automated, semi-automated and manual procedures. The dose estimates provided by network laboratories were in good agreement with true administered doses. The most accurate estimates were reported for low dose points (≤ 0.94 Gy). For higher dose points (≥ 2.7 Gy) a larger variation in estimates was observed, though in the second exercise the number of acceptable estimates increased satisfactorily. Higher accuracy was achieved with the semi-automated method. The results of the two exercises performed by our network demonstrate that the micronucleus assay is a useful tool for large-scale radiation emergencies, and can be successfully implemented within a large network of laboratories.