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Adv Space Res. 2000;25(10):2065-74.

Effects of exposure to heavy particles on a behavior mediated by the dopaminergic system.

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Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA.
U MD, Baltimore


The effects of exposure to heavy particles on behaviors mediated by the central nervous system (CNS) are qualitatively different than the effects produced by exposure to other types of radiation. One behavior mediated by the CNS is the amphetamine-induced taste aversion, which is produced by pairing a novel tasting solution with injection of amphetamine. When the conditioning day is three days following irradiation, exposing rats to low doses of 56Fe particles (600 MeV/n or 1 GeV/n) eliminates the taste aversion produced by injection of amphetamine, which is dependent upon the integrity of the central dopaminergic system, but has no effect on the aversion produced by injection of lithium chloride which is mediated by the gastrointestinal system. In contrast to the effects obtained using heavy particles, exposing rats to 60CO gamma rays or to fission spectrum neutrons has no selective effect upon the acquisition of either amphetamine- or lithium chloride-induced taste aversions. When the conditioning day occurs four months following exposure to 1 GeV/n 56Fe particles, there is an enhancement of the amphetamine-induced taste aversion. The implications of these findings for approaches to risk assessment are considered.

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