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Radiat Res. 1992 Apr;130(1):88-93.

Possible "accelerated striatal aging" induced by 56Fe heavy-particle irradiation: implications for manned space flights.

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Department of Behavioral Sciences, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20889-5145.


The present experiments were carried out to determine the effects of energy deposition from energetic iron (56Fe particles, an important component of cosmic rays) on motor behavioral performance and to determine if the observed deficits were caused by alterations in the neostriatum (an important motor control area). Neostriatal function was assessed with two correlated parameters, i.e., motor behavioral performance (wire suspension task), and oxotremorine-enhanced K(+)-evoked release of dopamine from perifused striatal slices. Rats were exposed to one of several doses of 56Fe-particle irradiation (0.10-1.0 Gy) and tested on a wire suspension task at 3-180 days postirradiation. Results indicated that profound decrements occurred in both of these indices. The effects on K(+)-evoked release of dopamine were evident for as long as 180 days after irradiation, and a subsequent experiment indicated that these effects appeared as early as 12 h postirradiation. Since similar findings have been observed in aged rats, the results are discussed in terms of these particles producing a possible accelerated striatal aging effect.

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