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A radioactive isotope which, when injected into a chemically similar substance or artificially attached to a biological or physical system, can

be traced by radiation detection devices. Many problems in biology and medicine not amenable to other approaches can be solved by the use of these tracers. See also Radioactivity; Radioactivity and radiation applications; Radioisotope; Radioisotope (biology). The simplest radioactive tracer studies consist of the tagging of a biological entity with a radioactive isotope (radioisotope). The entity is then tracked by following the radiation from the isotope. The operation becomes more complex when a large number of biological particles are labeled, for example, in the tagging of red blood cells or bacteria. When the labeled substance is injected into an animal, it is impossible to follow the individual labeled particles, but their average movement can be tracked by observations of the radiation. Finally, a radioisotope of a particular element can be used to tag that element. Phosphorus-32 can be introduced into the soil where a plant is growing, and the amount of phosphorus absorbed and its distribution throughout the plant can be studied. In most biological tracer experiments, the radio-isotope is introduced into the system and its radiation subsequently measured with Geiger-Müller counters or scintillation detectors. Extremely soft (low-intensity) radiations can be detected by the use of photographic film. See also Geiger-Müller counter; Scintillation counter. In medical applications, a radioactive atom can be attached to a molecule or more complex substance, which can then be used to examine a chemical reaction in a test tube, or it can be administered to a patient by ingestion or injection and subsequently be incorporated into a biochemical process. The radioactive emissions from the radioactive atom can be used to track (trace) the behavior of the labeled molecule or substance in biological processes by means of medical imaging, utilizing techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) or single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT). See also Medical imaging. The branch of medicine that uses radioactive tracers in the care of patients is called nuclear medicine. Radiotracers of practically every element can be produced in nuclear reactors or cyclotrons. Radioactive tracers are used as part of the diagnostic process. Three radionuclides —carbon-14, tritium (hydrogen-3), and phosphorus-32—remain the backbone of modern biomedical sciences. See alsoNuclear medicine.

radioactive tracer
Top Home > Library > Science > Biochemistry Dictionary or radiotracer a radioactive substance that is added to a metabolic system in quantities (mass) too small to perturb the system, in order to follow, by isolating the radioactive intermediates formed, the sequence of transformations undergone normally by the same (nonradioactive) molecule under similar conditions. Previous: radioactive label, radioactive isotope, radioactive concentration Next: radioactivity, radioallergosorbent test, radioassay

1 Hydrogen o 3. (July 2010) A radioactive tracer. phosphorus.5 Iodine 4Applications o 4.1.2. who won the 1943 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his pioneering work using radioactive tracers to study metabolic processes in plants and animals. please adjust this template Radioactive tracer • WikiProject Medicine· Medicine Portal • WikiProject Science· Science Portal If another appropriate WikiProject or portal exists.1Diagnostics 5 See also 6References o 6.3Phosphorus o 3. Methodology .1 Industry and research  4.4 Sulfur o 3. sulfur. metabolism studies.[1] A number of different radioactive forms of hydrogen. carbon. Wikipedia on Answers.2 Carbon o 3.1Bibliography History Radioactive tracing was developed by George de Hevesy. and medical diagnostics. also called a radioactive label.radioactive tracer A molecule to which a radioactive atom has been attached so that it can be followed through a physiologic system with radiation detectors. and iodine are commonly used in applications including biochemical assays. Contents • • • • • • 1 History 2Methodology 3Tracer isotopes o 3. is a substance containing a radioisotope that is used to measure the speed of chemical processes and to track the movement of a substance through a natural system such as a cell or tissue.1Metabolic Research o 4.2 Medical applications  4.

The low energy of the emitted particle causes tritium to have low detection efficiency by scintillation counting. Carbon Carbon-11 is a radioactive form of carbon that contains five neutrons and six protons in its nucleus. Carbon-11 decays into boron-11 by positron emission. Phosphorus-33 is used similarly to phosphorus-32. but the tracer molecule continually gives off radiation that can be detected with a Geiger counter. Phosphorus-32 decays into sulfur-32 by emission of a beta particle. Carbon-14 decays into nitrogen-14 by emission of a beta particle. Phosphorus-32 emits a relatively high energy beta particle. However. due to the abundance of hydrogen in organic compounds. Tracers are frequently used to track the localization of a specific compound or to trace the path of a compound through a series of chemical reactions. Tracer isotopes A number of different radioisotopes are used as radioactive tracers depending on the application. Carbon-14 is a radioactive form of carbon that contains eight neutrons and six protons in its nucleus.Radioactive tracers are compounds that contain one or more radioactive atoms that allows for easy detection and measurement. Phosphorus Phosphorus-32 is a radioactive form of phosphorus that contains 17 neutrons and 15 protons in its nucleus. . Tritium decays into helium-3 by emission of a low energy beta particle. The tracer behaves in exactly the same way as an unlabeled molecule. Carbon-14 is frequently used to trace carbons through metabolic pathways. Carbon-14 has been used as a tracer in both medical and scientific tests. allowing for higher resolution assays and requiring less usage of safety equipment. scintillation counter or other type of radiation detection instrument. Phosphorus-33 decays into sulfur-33 by emission of a beta particle. an imaging technique that allows for threedimensional imaging of functional processes in the human body. Carbon-11 is frequently used as a tracer in positron emission tomography. Hydrogen Tritium (3H) is a radioactive form of hydrogen that contains one proton and two neutrons in its nucleus. tritium is frequently used as a tracer in biochemical studies. Phosphorus-33 is a radioactive form of phosphorus that contains 18 neutrons and 15 protons in its nucleus. Phosphorus-33 is less common and more expensive to produce than phosphorus-32. A radioactive tracer is identical in chemical composition to the compound of interest and is administered in minute amounts that do not perturb the experimental system. and a number of safety precautions are needed when working with it. except that it emits less energetic beta particles. Phosphorus-32 is frequently used to label amino acids and phosphoproteins and is commonly used to study protein phosphorylation by kinases in biochemistry.

Iodine-123 decays into tellurium-123 by electron capture. Iodine-123 is used in nuclear medicine imaging. stable isotope tracers such as carbon-13 are more commonly used in current human clamp studies. Sulfur-35 is frequently used as a tracer in biochemical experiments. and other metabolic processes. If the labeled urea was metabolized by h. a labeled sulfur can replace an oxygen in a phosphate group on a given nucleotide to create a thiophosphate which has very similar biochemical properties to the original phosphate group. Sulfur-35 decays into chlorine-35 by emission of a beta particle. Radioactive tracers are also used to study lipoprotein metabolism in humans and experimental animals. Iodine-125 decays into tellurium-125 by electron capture.[5] . producing gamma rays. tracers are applied in a number of tests. radioactive tracers are frequently used in glucose clamps to measure rates of glucose uptake. In recent years. Iodine-125 is a radioactive form of iodine that contains 72 neutrons and 53 protons in its nucleus. the patient's breath would contain labeled carbon dioxide. including single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Alternatively.[2] Applications Industry and research Metabolic Research In metabolism research. Iodine-123 is the most frequently used isotope in thyroid function studies. the use of the stable isotope carbon-13 has become the preferred method to minimize patient exposure to radiation. producing gamma rays. Because of its short half-life. such as technetium-99 in autoradiography and nuclear medicine. Tritium and carbon-14-labeled water and glucose are commonly used tracers for metabolic clamp studies. The urea breath test for helicobacter pylori commonly used a dose of carbon-14 labeled urea to detect h. fatty acid synthesis. Iodine Iodine-123 is a radioactive form of iodine that contains 70 neutrons and 53 protons in its nucleus. pylori in the stomach. pylori infection. positron emission tomography (PET) and scintigraphy. specifically to study thyroid function. where it is used to label amino acids and nucleic acids containing sulfur.[4] Medical applications Diagnostics In medicine. [3] While radioactive tracers are sometimes still used in human studies.Sulfur Sulfur-35 is a radioactive form of sulfur that contains 18 neutrons and 16 protons in its nucleus. Iodine-125 is frequently used in radioimmunoassays because of its relatively long half-life and ability to be detected with high sensitivity by gamma counters.