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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 5;9(8):e104299. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104299. eCollection 2014.

Protective effects of polysaccharides from Sipunculus nudus on Beagle dogs exposed to γ-radiation.

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  • 1Department of Radiotoxicology, School of Radiation Medicine and Protection, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
  • 2Department of Health Toxicology, School of Public Health, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
  • 3Department of Protection Medicine, Naval Medical Research Institute, Shanghai, China.


The aim of the study is to investigate the radioprotective effect of polysaccharide extract from Sipunculus nudus (SNP). Beagle dogs were randomly divided into the following six groups. Group-1: Un-treated and un-irradiated controls. Group-2: Exposed to a single acute dose of 2 Gy γ-radiation alone. Groups-3, 4 and 5: Oral administration of SNP at 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg body weight once a day for 7 days followed by a single acute whole body exposure to 2 Gy γ-radiation. The same doses of SNP were administered for further 27 days. Group-6: Positive controls treated with 1.6 mg/kg Nilestriol by gavage after radiation. Blood parameters including white/red cells and platelet counts, as well as hemoglobin level, were assessed every other day for 34 days (7 days before and 27 days of experiment). Serum separated from aliquots of the same blood sample was used to estimate enzyme activity of antioxidant superoxide-dismutase, and to determine levels of free radical, nitric oxide, hydroxyl and superoxide anion. At the end of the experiment, all dogs were euthanized to weigh the organs for organ co-efficient calculation. Pathological changes were assessed in the bone marrow. The results showed that the dogs exposed to γ-radiation alone exhibited a typical hematopoietic syndrome. In contrast, at the end of 27 days experiment, dogs received oral administration of SNP+γ-radiation showed: (i) a much improved blood picture as indicated by shorter duration of leucopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia (platelet counts), as well as hemoglobin levels, (ii) significantly improved hematopoietic activity in the bone marrow, (iii) substantial decrease in nitric oxide levels, and notable increase in activity of antioxidant superoxide dismutase. The results suggested that oral administration of SNP in Beagle dogs was effective in facilitating the recovery of hematopoietic bone marrow damage induced by γ-radiation.

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