Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Feb;26(2):218-27. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.09.006. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

The biobehavioral and neuroimmune impact of low-dose ionizing radiation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA.


In the clinical setting, repeated exposures (10-30) to low-doses of ionizing radiation (≤200 cGy), as seen in radiotherapy for cancer, causes fatigue. Almost nothing is known, however, about the fatigue inducing effects of a single exposure to environmental low-dose ionizing radiation that might occur during high-altitude commercial air flight, a nuclear reactor accident or a solar particle event (SPE). To investigate the short-term impact of low-dose ionizing radiation on mouse biobehaviors and neuroimmunity, male CD-1 mice were whole body irradiated with 50 cGy or 200 cGy of gamma or proton radiation. Gamma radiation was found to reduce spontaneous locomotor activity by 35% and 36%, respectively, 6 h post irradiation. In contrast, the motivated behavior of social exploration was un-impacted by gamma radiation. Examination of pro-inflammatory cytokine gene transcripts in the brain demonstrated that gamma radiation increased hippocampal TNF-α expression as early as 4 h post-irradiation. This was coupled to subsequent increases in IL-1RA (8 and 12 h post irradiation) in the cortex and hippocampus and reductions in activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc) (24 h post irradiation) in the cortex. Finally, restraint stress was a significant modulator of the neuroimmune response to radiation blocking the ability of 200 cGy gamma radiation from impairing locomotor activity and altering the brain-based inflammatory response to irradiation. Taken together, these findings indicate that low-dose ionizing radiation rapidly activates the neuroimmune system potentially causing early onset fatigue-like symptoms in mice.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk