Send to

Choose Destination
J Radiat Res. 2013 May;54(3):409-18. doi: 10.1093/jrr/rrs116. Epub 2012 Dec 9.

Effects of low-dose heavy ions on embryonic development in mice and on melanocyte differentiation in the epidermis and hair bulb.

Author information

The Fukushima Reconstruction Aid Headquarters, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8555, Japan.


The effects of prenatal low-dose irradiation with heavy ions on embryonic development in mice and on melanocyte differentiation are not well understood. We performed whole-body irradiation of pregnant C57BL/10J mice at embryonic Day 9 (E9) with a single dose of γ-rays, silicon, argon or iron ions. The number of living embryos and embryonic body weight at E18 decreased after exposure to heavy ions at high doses. Malformations such as small eyes and limb anomalies were observed in heavy-ion-treated embryos, but not in γ-ray-treated embryos. The frequency of abnormally curved tails was increased by exposure to γ-rays and argon and iron ions even at a dose of 0.1 Gy (P < 0.05). In contrast, a dose-dependent decrease in the number of epidermal melanoblasts/melanocytes and hair bulb melanocytes was observed after 0.1 Gy irradiation with γ-rays or heavy ions (P < 0.01). The decrease in the number of dorsal hair bulb melanocytes, dorsal and ventral epidermal melanoblasts/melanocytes and ventral hair bulb melanocytes was not necessarily correlated with the linear energy transfer of the radiation tested. Moreover, the effects of heavy ions were larger on the ventral skin than on the dorsal skin, indicating that the sensitivity of melanocytes to heavy ions differs between the dorsal and ventral skin. Taken together, these results suggest that the effects of the low-dose heavy ions differ between cell types and tissues, and the effects on the prenatal development of mice and melanocyte development are not necessarily greater than those of γ-rays.


anomaly; epidermis; hair bulb; heavy ion; melanoblast; melanocyte

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center